Cellphone users can now text 911 in Massachusetts

BOSTON (WHDH) - Cellphone users across Massachusetts can now text 911 if they are in need of emergency services and unable to place a voice call.

The Massachusetts State 911 Department announced Wednesday that all emergency call centers in the state now have the ability to receive a text message.

“This is a significant improvement to our 911 system that will save lives,” Public Safety and Security Secretary Tom Turco said. “By giving those requiring emergency services this option we are greatly expanding the ability of first responders to provide critical assistance to those in need.”

To contact emergency services by text message, residents can simply enter 911 in the “To” field of their mobile device and then type a message into the message field.

Officials say it is important for texters to make every effort to begin their messages by indicating the town they are in and best location information if possible.

“Having the ability to contact a 911 call center by text could help those being held against their will or victims of domestic violence unable to make a voice call,” Executive Director of the State 911 Department Frank Pozniak said. “Text to 911 also provides direct access to 911 emergency services for the deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired, which is a service that these communities did not have access to until now.”

The State 911 Department is encouraging Bay Staters to use Text to 911 only when a voice call is not possible.

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