Yuba City Police Department
Serving Yuba City
since 1908
Yuba City Police Department

Text to 9-1-1: What You Need to Know
Call if you can, text if you can't

Today almost everyone has a cell phone and in an emergency, your cell phone may be your only lifeline.  We are so pleased to announce that Text to 911 is now available in the incorporated areas of the city of Yuba City.  Even though this great new technology is now available, it is important that you still always call when you can, text when you can't.

So you should always call when you can, text when you can't.  When do you text?  Texting to 911 is an option for individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing, or have a speech impairment.  Or, if you are in an emergency situation where a voice call is simply not possible or even dangerous, or you tried to make a call but cannot get reception.

With texting to 911 now available, why is it still so important to call?  When seconds matter, a conversation is the best and most efficient way for emergency dispatchers to retrieve and deliver life-saving information.  And sometimes, there is no replacement to the calm voice on the other end of a line in a true emergency.  So that's why we encourage to always call when you can, and reserve a text when you can't.

So what do you need to know?  How does it work?  Simple.  Just like when you text a friend, your phone must have a data plan that supports texting.  Find the text icon on your phone, tap new message, type 911, no space or dash, in the "to."  In the subject include the street address including the city or town if you know it and if you don't provide the best description you can.  Include the type of emergency and if you need police, fire or medical.

Provided location information is so important because dispatchers cannot locate you based on your text to 911.  No GPS coordinates are provided as would appear if you called from a cell phone.  While calling from a home landline provides some location, a text does not.  Include the address of the location you need help sent to, or the best description you can.

Responders will reply to your text within seconds.  And if your text didn't go through, you'll receive a message letting you know.

Even though we live in a very text savvy world, and sometimes speak a text savvy language, there are a few things you also need to know about texting to 911.  Don't send emoji's, gifs, videos, and don't use social media jargon or acronyms or send group text to 911.  The 911 system is reserved for true emergencies.

We are so pleased to be the first in the Yuba Sutter area to launch this new technology in our community.  We know that it will save lives.  We want to be there for you, when you need us the most.  Please remember, calling 911 or texting 911 when it is not an emergency can be a crime.  Even more, it can distract attention away from people who truly need help.

Remember:  "Call when you can, text when you can't."

        Text 911 Logo

Important things to remember when texting to 911

  • Call when you can, text when you can't.
  • Texting to 911 is an option for people who have a disability such as hearing or speech.  Or, if you are in a dangerous situation and it would not be safe to make a voice call.
  • Your cell phone must have a data plan to be capable of sending a text to 911.
  • Text messages do not provide a GPS location, so be prepared to provide the address, location, or intersection where you need assistance.
  • Do not send photos or videos using text to 911.
  • Do not send group texts to 911.
  • Do not send GIF's (Photo's), use text slang, social media jargon, emoji's or abbreviations. The 911 system is reserved for true emergencies.
  • Not all cell carriers are the same.  So if you attempt to send a text to 911 and receive a "bounce-back" message stating the service was not available and to make a voice call.  Please call 911 to report your emergency.  Then contact your cell carrier for an explanation for the error message.  The dispatch center will not be able to provide insight as to why your text to 911 did not go through.
  • To place a text to 911 find the text icon on your cell phone, tap new message, type 911, no space or dash, in the "to".  In the subject include the street address or location to the best of your ability.  Include the type of emergency and if you need police, fire, or medical assistance and send.
  • Not all carriers have text to 911 available in California.  Check with your cell phone service provider.
  • Never text while driving.
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