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Community for All Ages

Find out what steps the City is taking to become a Community for All Ages

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When to use text to 9-1-1

  • Call if you can, text if you can’t! Calling 9-1-1 is still the best way to report an emergency.  Calltakers can get vital information more quickly through a voice call. It can also take more time for calltakers to respond to a text.
  • Text to 9-1-1 is designed for situations where you cannot speak safely, such as a home invasion, active shooter or domestic violence incident.
  • It is also an ideal option for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have difficulty speaking.
  • Just like 9-1-1 calls, texts to 9-1-1 should only be sent during actual emergencies.

Who can use text to 9-1-1

  • All 44 public safety answering points in the nine counties served by the Mid-America Regional Council can now accept texts. This includes Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri and Johnson, Leavenworth, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas
  • Four major phone carriers — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon — offer text to 9-1-1 service to their wireless customers in the Kansas City metro. Depending on the technology and the device used, customers of other carriers may be able to send a text to 9-1-1.
  • A text or data plan with a participating carrier is necessary to text to 9-1-1. The type of cell phone you have may also impact your ability to text to 9-1-1.
  • Text to 9-1-1 is not available when roaming.
  • The service is not yet available in other parts of Kansas. In Missouri, the only other areas currently offering text to 9-1-1 service are Hannibal and Bolivar.

What to expect when you send a text to 9-1-1

  • A dispatcher will reply to you by text. Be sure to silence your ringtone if staying quiet is important to your safety.
  • If your text to 9-1-1 fails to go through, you will receive a bounce-back message saying the service is not available and instructing you to make a voice call to 9-1-1. 
  • 9-1-1 call centers cannot identify your exact location when you send a text to 9-1-1.
  • Carriers treat texts to 9-1-1 like any other text message. Until the Federal Communications Commission sets specific guidelines, texts to 9-1-1 will not receive priority on wireless networks. Emergency texts will also experience the same service speeds and delays as other text messages.

How to send texts to 9-1-1

  • ​​​Give an accurate address or location as quickly as possible.
  • Identify the type of help you need — police, fire or ambulance.
  • Be brief, but don’t use abbreviations or slang.
  • Text in English. Translation services are not yet available for texts to 911.
  • Do not copy other people on texts to 9-1-1. Group messages will not go through.
  • Do not use emoticons or attach photos or videos. Texts with any images or multimedia will not go through.
  • Texts sent to 9-1-1 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.

Download Mid-America Regional Council's brochure to print or share


Mid-America Regional Council | 600 Broadway, Suite 200 | Kansas City, MO 64105 | www.marc.org