The Lynchburg Department of Emergency Services has recently added the capability to receive Text-to-911 messages at our PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) here in Lynchburg, VA. This enhancement will allow us to better serve the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community as well as those who are in truly dangerous situations and cannot make a voice call to 911.

General Information

  • Text-to-911 is an alternate option for citizens to contact 911 when a voice call is not possible.
  • Photos, videos, and emojis cannot be sent to 911.
  • A voice call is often the best and fastest way to reach 911 as well as receive lifesaving instructions. Always call if you can, text if you can't!
  • Your location will not automatically be texted to 911. Always be prepared to describe your location to the 911 call taker.
  • Text-to-911 messages can take longer to recieve.
  • A text or data plan is required to text 911.
  • If you text 911 and it is not available, you will receive a message to contact 911 by voice call.
  • Your first text message should be brief and include the location and nature of the emergency.
  • Use plain language. Stay away from abbreviations and slang.
  • Text communication takes longer, therefore it is best to call as long as you are in a safe environment.


Text-to-911 should be used for situations such as:

  • Domestic violence (when you can't get away from the suspect to safely call)
  • Burglary in progress
  • Abductions
  • Speech or hearing disabilities
  • If you feel a voice call could put you in a dangerous situation


Text-to-911 should not be used:

  • When a voice call is possible
  • As a prank
  • To report a non-life-threatening situation
  • To report a crime tip to the police
  • For administrative questions