Text to 9-1-1
Most people in Eugene and Lane County can now send a text message (short message service, or SMS) to 9-1-1 for emergency help when they are unable to make a voice call. This service is available to wireless customers when within range of a cell tower. The Central Lane and South Lane 9-1-1 Centers are now able to respond to text messages. Western Lane 9-1-1, which serves the Florence area, does not currently have this capability.
Call if You Can; Text if You Can't
Text-to-9-1-1 is not a replacement for a voice call to 9-1-1 in an emergency situation. It was developed as an enhancement to provide better access to 9-1-1 services in three specific situations:
- The caller is hearing/voice impaired
- A medical emergency renders the person incapable of speech
- Speaking aloud would put the caller in danger, in incidents such as a home invasion, a domestic dispute, or an active shooter
Things to Know When Texting 9-1-1
- You should use the texting option only when calling 9-1-1 is not an option.
- Texting takes more time than voice calls. In an emergency, seconds count. Text transmissions are not always instantaneous. For both the customer and the dispatcher, typing and reading information can take more time than saying it. Therefor, it may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services when the communication is by text rather than by voice.
- Texting May Not Work at All Locations. If you are not in range of a cell tower, or you are outside or near the edge of our response area, the message may not reach the 9-1-1 center. If texting service is not available at your location, you will receive a "bounce back" message telling you to make a voice call.
- Provide Location Information in your first text. The automatic location information we can get from a cell phone is very imprecise. Before you tell us anything else, tell us where to send help.
- Be Clear. Avoid using text abbreviations, slang, or emoticons, so the intent of the dialogue is as clear as possible.
- Be Concise. Texts sent to 9-1-1 have the same 160 character limit as other text messages.
- No Attachments, no Cc's: Text-to-9-1-1 should be used only to communicate between emergency help and the texter. Do not send the message to other recipients than 9-1-1. We will not be able to access pictures, video, or other attachments.
- Emergencies only: Text-to-9-1-1 should be used only in emergency situations that require immediate response from Police, Fire, or Emergency Medical services. For non-emergency situations, contact your local public safety agency via their 10-digit non-emergency number, or use other communications channels as appropriate.
- No Usage Controls: Wireless customers who use Usage Controls should remove this feature to ensure full text-to-9-1-1 capabilities.