An unspoken rule of life is that deep thoughts will likely only worm their way into a person's brain when said person is showering or driving.

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Such was the case for me last week when a thought crawled into my brain for no particular reason and nagged at me until I hunted down the answer. The question has to do with texting 911.

I couldn't even tell you why this thought came to mind, but I found myself wondering how I would contact emergency services if I were ever in a dangerous situation, and it wasn't safe to make a call to 911.

I remembered hearing that some places have 911 texting capabilities for use when it's not safe to place a phone call or when someone has difficulty hearing or speaking. So, I reached out to the Broome County Sheriff's Office to see if Broome County has the ability to accept 911 text messages.

Broome County does indeed have the ability to take calls for help through texting 911 but if it's safe for you to call and speak directly to a dispatcher, that should always be your first course of action.

Emmanuel Priest is the Public Information Officer for the Broome County Sheriff's Office, and he told me in an email, "If you send a text to 911, your message will get routed to your local emergency 911 dispatch based on your location."

How To Text 911 in an Emergency

In order for your text to 911 to go through, you have to use your actual phone, not a messaging platform such as Whatsapp or Telegram.

How To Compose a Text to 911

Open up the place where you send text messages to others on your cell phone and create a new text. In the "to" field, simply type in 911.

What To Write in a 911 Text

In the box where you can write a message, give as many details of your situation as possible. You should always start your text by letting them know where you are and what the problem. If you need police, fire, or ambulance services, let them know right away. After you've typed out as much detail as possible, hit send.

Before Sending Your Text to 911

Before you hit send on your message, read it again to make sure it makes sense and that you've given proper information such as your address. If it looks good, hit send.

Replying to a 911 Text

When a dispatcher replies to your text, answer their questions with as much detail as possible. If they ask you a question you don't know the answer to, let them know you're not sure of the answer.

What Not To Send in a 911 Text

Stay away from using emojis or sending photos or videos. Just use text and be as detailed as you possibly can be.

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