911: Call When You Can, Text If You Can’t

You can also text photos and video

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How To Text 911 Check Out Videos in American Sign Language

Raleigh and Wake County residents have an additional way to communicate with 911. You can text, including sending pictures and videos*, to the Raleigh-Wake Emergency Communications Center (911). We encourage you to “call when you can, text if you can’t.”

*Check with your carrier to ensure it provides the technology to send photos and video.

How To Text 911

  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” field 
  • The first text message to 911 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed
  • Push the “Send” button. 
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker. 
  • Text in simple words – DO NOT use abbreviations. 
  • Keep text messages brief and concise. 

A few things to know if you need to text 911: 

  • As with all text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order or may not be received. 
  • Text-to-911 feature is not available if you are roaming. 
  •  A text or data plan is required to place a text to 911. 
  • If texting to 911 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that texting 911 is not available and to contact 911 by other means. 
  • You can also send photos and videos to Raleigh-Wake 911.
  • Text-to-911 feature cannot include more than one person. 
  • Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911.
  • Emojis are not visible to 911.

Check Out Videos in American Sign Language

The National Emergency Number Association offers American Sign Language videos about the texting capability. Check out: 

Note: In Raleigh and Wake County, you can also text photos and videos to the Raleigh-Wake 911.



(M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)


Lead Department:
Emergency Communications