Fire Department, Police Department, Public Safety

A new way to get help—Text "911"

February 13, 2018

The Hayward Police Department announced this month that city emergency dispatchers will be equipped to receive and respond to mobile telephone “911” text messages effective immediately.

The service gives hearing and speech impaired members of the community—or those in a situation where it is too dangerous to dial 9-1-1—another option to call for help in an emergency. To use this system, all you need to do is type the numbers “911” in the recipient text field and hit send. Our dispatchers will receive the message and begin a text conversation. Please refrain from using abbreviations or emojis.

“Call if you can—text if you can’t” is the slogan developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the new technology makes its debut in parts of California.

The announcement comes after the nation’s four largest wireless service providers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, in cooperation with the FCC, the Emergency Number Association and Association of Public Safety Communications Officials agreed in 2012 to provide 9-1-1 text capability until the next generation of 9-1-1 is deployed.

If you use a wireless phone or other mobile device, make sure you do the following in an emergency. Always contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, if can possible, and text if you can’t. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled, and text isn’t an option, use a TTY or telecommunications relay service, if available.