Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 31° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Text 911 when calling isn’t an option in Spokane County

County announces new emergency service

Starting today, Spokane County residents can reach 911 with a text message. County officials announced they recently completed testing of the service, which is intended for use in emergency situations where someone can’t safely place a phone call, like a home invasion, and for those who have hearing or speech disabilities. Customers with data plans from Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint now can send a text message in an emergency. Anyone with questions about the availability of the service should contact their carriers directly and should not send “test” messages to 911, a county news release said. It said that dialing 911 is still the preferred and most effective way to request emergency services. Text-to-911 service is not available statewide. County officials gave these tips for safely utilizing the service:
  • Text only for emergencies, not for convenience.
  • Your first message should be the location of the emergency and the type of help needed (police, fire or medical)
  • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations or emoticons.
  • Keep your text messages brief and concise.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions.
  • Photos and videos can’t be sent to 911 at this time.
  • Just like regular text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, get out of order or may not be received at all.
  • 911 texting will not work while roaming.
  • A data or texting plan is required.
  • Location information with a text is not equal to calling 911 at this time.
  • Non-English translation is not available.
  • The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

    Local journalism is essential.

    Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

    Active Person

    Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

    Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.