Not all emergencies can be diffused with a call to 911. There are situations when talking to a dispatcher is not an option.

This is where Text-to-911 comes to the rescue! Virginia Beach is now an area that offers this lifesaving feature. Text-to-911 is a fairly new way to contact emergency dispatchers. Text-to-911 is designed with keeping secretivity in mind.

This feature is perfect for people who cannot speak loudly in fear of the intruder hearing them. More often than not, if a criminal hears that there was a call to 911, they will become hostile. Text-to-911 is also a way for deaf or hard of hearing people connect with 911 with ease.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, “Virginia Beach is the only city in South Hampton Roads currently able to accept such emergency texts.”

The Federal Communications Commission notes that while Text-to-911 is a great option, it should ONLY be used when absolutely needed.

Placing a phone call to 911 is still the best way to connect with an emergency dispatcher.

The option for Text-to-911 has already saved multiple people throughout the country. This has great potential to save women who are being abused and feel that they can’t call 911. This has also saved two children in Nebraska who were being driven by their reportedly intoxicated father. These children were able to text 911 to get help without their father knowing. Abducted persons also may be able to benefit from this texting capability.

Things to know about Text-to-911:

Texts can bounce back. In the occasion of a bounce back of a text, there will be a notification.

There will be a message that comes back to the phone that will tell you to make a phone call to 911.

The Text-to-911 feature is not available everywhere in the country. This feature is limited to the 911 centers that have modernized systems.

There is effort to make the text option available throughout the US.

Only text messages can be sent. Videos and photos cannot be received through Text-to-911.

The bare minimum is needed to best communicate with emergency responders. This means to hold back the emojis and paragraph-like texts.


Virginia Beach is really paving the way for other emergency call centers in the US to start using the amazing feature of Text-to-911! Only around 10% of call centers in the country have this texting capability.