Before you can use T9-1-1:
You must be registered for the T9-1-1 service and establish contact through a voice call to interact with emergency services via text message. A text message that is sent to 9-1-1 from an unregistered cell phone and/or without a voice call will not be received.
How to Make a T9-1-1 Call
- Unlock the cell phone keypad if it is locked. Some cell phones do not allow receiving and/or sending text messages if the keypad is locked, even though they allow a user to dial 9-1-1. “Unlocking” means entering your personal password or pressing an unlock button on the phone.
- Dial 9-1-1 on your cell phone to place an emergency voice call.
- Monitor the cell phone display to ensure that the call is connected. Shortly after the call is connected, you should receive an initial text message from a 9-1-1 call centre.
- The number you will see on your cell phone will have 13 digits and will begin with 555911.
- Once the initial text message is received, you should reply to this text message and provide the 9-1-1 call taker with the information that they are requesting, such as the nature of the emergency and your location. Keep your text messages brief and concise.
- You should keep the 9-1-1 voice call connected during the entire text messaging session if possible. This will permit the 9-1-1 call taker to hear any background noises that can be helpful to assess the emergency, and will provide enhanced 9-1-1 functions.
- You will know that the T9-1-1 session has been concluded when you receive the message “End of 9-1-1 Call”.
- After receiving the “End of 9-1-1 Call” message, if you need to further communicate with the 9-1-1 call centre, you will need to initiate a new text session by dialing 9-1-1 to re-establish contact with the 9-1-1 call centre and communicate again by replying to the text message.
Interacting with a 9-1-1 Call Centre during a T9-1-1 Call
If you have registered for the T9-1-1 service but do not receive an initial text message from the 9-1-1 call centre after calling 9-1-1:
- Ensure that you are using the cell phone with the telephone number that you have registered with the T9-1-1 service.
- Confirm that you are still in the coverage area.
- Check to make sure that you have adequate network coverage by looking at your handset.
- Keep monitoring the cell phone display to ensure that the call is still connected.
Please be patient, as emergency text communication takes longer to initiate, especially during peak emergency situations. The 9-1-1 call taker will be making their best effort to quickly send the initial text message.
- If no response is received within a few minutes, then you may seek an alternate way to get assistance, such as asking someone else to dial 9-1-1 on your behalf.
In instances where you do not receive replies to your text message, re-send the message.
You will know that the T9-1-1 session has been concluded when you receive an “End of 9-1-1 Call” message. If no “End of 9-1-1 Call” or further response is received, you can send a text message, asking if the 9-1-1 conversation has ended. If you receive an error message, the T9-1-1 session has ended.
If the session has been concluded, you will need to initiate a new text session by dialling 9-1-1 to re-establish contact with a 9-1-1 call taker and communicate again using text messaging.
What to put in your message
- The more specific your message, the more quickly help can be sent. An appropriate emergency text messaging format might be:
POLICE: road accident, junction High Street and Bridge Street, City Name
FIRE at 123 Main Street, City Name