What is Text-to-911? Text-to-911 is a service designed to assist individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have limited speech abilities—basically, anyone who may find it challenging to make a traditional phone call to 911.

With Text-to-911, you can send a text message directly to 911 emergency dispatchers using your mobile phone or device. It's a free service that operates through the short message service (SMS) with cellular carriers, and all you need is a text or data plan.

When to Use Text-to-911: Text-to-911 should only be used in real emergencies that require immediate assistance. For non-emergency situations, such as general inquiries, please call the UCPD Non-Emergency line at (951) 827-5222.

Keep in mind that Text-to-911 is not universally available. If you are in an area without this service, you may receive a message stating that it's not available. In such cases, make a voice call to 911 to report your emergency.

How to Use Text-to-911: To report an emergency to UCPD using Text-to-911:

  1. Open your text messaging screen.
  2. Enter "911" (no dashes or spaces) in the "To" field.
  3. Text your emergency details, full address, and cross streets or building location.
  4. Use complete words and sentences; avoid abbreviations.
  5. Do not send photos, emoticons, videos, or group texts.
  6. Answer all the dispatcher's questions; they will end the chat.

Limitations to Keep in Mind:

  1. Know Your Location: Unlike landline phones, 911 centers may not automatically know your exact location when you call or text from a cell phone. Always provide your location for prompt assistance.
  2. Use Plain English: Text-to-911 can only receive words and punctuation—no emoticons, emojis, pictures, or videos. Avoid "text speak" or abbreviations for clear communication.
  3. Language Limitations: Language interpreting services are not available for Text-to-911 currently. Dispatchers will do their best to assist you if you're unable to text in English.

For More Information: The FCC has a comprehensive guide on Text-to-911, providing additional details and resources. Check it out here.