Text to 911
If you need help in an emergency but can’t speak or safely make a voice call, you can use your mobile phone to send a text message to 9-1-1. Now available in South Dakota, Text-to-9-1-1 is a discreet way to report an emergency, stop a crime or save a life.
CALL if you can, TEXT if you can’t
• Text-to-9-1-1 is available throughout South Dakota as of March, 2021.
• Text-to-9-1-1 provides direct service for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or those with a speech
disability. Texting can also be used by individuals who lost the ability to speak following a medical crisis.
• Text-to-9-1-1 should only be used when a person can’t safely make a voice call, such as an active shooter,
domestic violence, home invasion, and human trafficking.
How to Text 9-1-1
1. Enter the numbers 9-1-1 in the “To” field.
2. Text your exact location and type of emergency.
3. Send the message.
4. Be prepared to answer questions promptly and follow
Texting Do’s and Don’ts
• Use simple words; do not use abbreviations, pictures, text slang or jargon, emojis or
group texts including 9-1-1.
• Once you have initiated a Text-to-9-1-1 conversation, do not delete the conversation or turn your phone off
until you have been instructed to do so.
• Texting 9-1-1 with a false report is a crime, as is sending a “test” text. If you accidentally send a text to
9-1-1, send another text or call 9-1-1 to let the dispatcher know that there is no emergency.
• Do NOT text and drive!
• Emergency response may be lengthened due to the time it takes for a text to 9-1-1 to be typed and sent.
Text-to-9-1-1 messages are subject to the same service speeds and/or delays depending on network
strength in your area.
• Location is not as accurate with text as it is with a call. Be sure to text your exact address or location.
• At this time, 9-1-1 call centers are not equipped to accept photos or videos attached to a text-message.
• A text or data plan is required in order to use Text-to-9-1-1.
• If you attempt to send a text to 9-1-1 where that service is not currently available or your phone is in
"roaming" status, you should receive a "bounce-back" message informing you that the service is unavailable.
• There is no language translation service for texts to 9-1-1.
• Texts to 9-1-1 have a 160-character limit, can get out of order, or may not be received.
South Dakota Department of Public Safety