To further enhance public safety, Orange County law enforcement and fire dispatch centers, including Yorba Linda Police Services/Orange County Sheriff's Department and Orange County Fire Authority, are now equipped with Text-to-911 to allow the hearing impaired, speech impaired, or those in an emergency situation who are unable to make a phone call reach emergency services dispatchers by text message. Text-to-911 was jointly launched by every Orange County public safety agency with a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) on February 6, 2019.
Residents are reminded that voice calls are always preferred, as making a voice call will provide a faster response by allowing information to be relayed to responding public safety personnel as quickly as possible. A voice call also allows dispatchers to hear background noises or conversations and gather additional information. If a situation arises when you need to use Text-to-911, you should first provide your location and whether you need law enforcement, fire, or medical aid services. Some tips for using text-to-911 include:
- Ensure location services on your mobile phone are turned on and be prepared to provide your location in the text;
- To get started, type “911” in the “to” field of the text message and, in addition to your location, provide the type of emergency services you need (police, fire or medical);
- Use plain text and refrain from abbreviations;
- Dispatchers cannot accept pictures, videos, or icons;
- Text-to-9-1-1 cannot be used in a group text;
- If your text does not go through, you should receive a message to make a voice call; and
- Calling or texting 911 when it is not an emergency is a crime punishable by up to a year in County jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
For additional information, view the Text-to-911 Fact Sheet (PDF).