My father suffered hearing loss from flying air combat missions over North Korea and his hearing loss has gotten much worse with age. Like many people, he has a hard time on the phone. In an emergency, calling 9-1-1 would be a problem for him.
On February 6, 2019, however, the Irvine Police Department, along with emergency response agencies throughout Orange County, launched Text to 9-1-1. The system has been implemented jointly in every public safety agency in the County.
Texting during an emergency could be helpful if you are deaf or hard of hearing, like my father, or have a speech disability, or if a voice call to 911 might otherwise be dangerous or impossible.
When texting 9-1-1, begin by texting your location and the type of services you need (law, fire, or medical.) It’s important that you know your location or know the city you’re in and can describe your exact location to the dispatcher. Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon. Also, messages should be sent in plain language. Do not use acronyms, short code messages, or emojis.
You must have a data plan to use Text to 9-1-1. Currently, language translation services are not available through the system, and dispatchers cannot receive photos, videos, or texts sent to a group.
The Irvine Police Department worked closely with the County to ensure that our Irvine Communications Center is equipped for this service.
Remember: Call 9-1-1 if you can, text if you can’t!