Cobb 911 now accepts text messages

When unable to make a 911 voice call, Cobb County wireless customers now can send a short-message service text message to 911 for emergency help.

This service is available to the majority of wireless customers, according to a Cobb County statement.

All major carriers have completed integration with the Cobb County E911 system.

Text to 911 was not developed as a replacement or an option to calling 911 in an emergency situation but instead as an enhancement to reaching 911 services in three specific situations:

  • The caller is hearing or voice impaired.
  • A medical emergency leaves the person unable to speak.
  • Speaking out loud would put the caller in danger such as a home invasion, an abduction, a domestic violence incident or an active shooter scenario.

Cobb County will receive Text to 911 calls from unincorporated Cobb County and the cities within Cobb.

Information will be relayed to the appropriate city if necessary.

Smyrna 911 has deployed its own Text to 911.

The county will work with Smyrna to provide seamless police, fire and medical services.

Important information for wireless customers in Cobb County:

  • Customers should use the texting option only when calling 911 is not an option.
  • Using a phone to call 911 is still the most efficient way to reach emergency help. Texting is not always instantaneous, which is critical during a life-threatening emergency. It may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in Text to 911 situations because of the time involved.
  • Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative.
  • Cobb County Public Safety agencies will receive only the location of the cell phone tower closest to the call’s origin, not the caller’s actual location.
  • Text abbreviations or slang never should be used so that the intent of the dialogue can be as clear as possible.
  • Customers must be in range of cell towers in Cobb County. If customers are outside or near the edge of the county, the message may not reach a Cobb County Public Safety agency.
  • Texts to 911 from areas where the service is not available will receive a “bounce back” message, telling them to make a voice call.
  • Texts sent to 911 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.
  • When texting 911, do not include others in the text.

Wireless customers must have cell phones capable of sending text messages.

Customers should consult their OTT (over the top) messaging providers to determine if and how Text to 911 is provided by the OTT application.

The texting function should be used only for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services.

For nonemergency situations, customers should contact their local public safety agency via a 10-digit nonemergency number.

SMS 911 should be used only to communicate between emergency help and the texter with no pictures, video, other attachments or other recipients appended to the message.

Cobb video about Text to 911: