For someone with a hearing or speech disability placing a call to 911 is very time consuming. Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device. The FCC announced that the nation’s four largest wireless carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile — have agreed to accelerate the availability of text-to-911, with major deployments expected in 2013 and a commitment to nationwide availability by May 15, 2014. However, for now, the ability to contact 911 using text is only available on a limited basis in a few markets.

Building on text-to-911 deployments and trials that are already underway, this agreement will accelerate progress and ensure that over 90 percent of the nation’s wireless consumers, including millions of consumers with hearing or speech disabilities, will be able to access emergency services by sending a text message to 911, where local 911 call centers (known as a Public Safety Answering Points, or PSAPs) are also prepared to receive the texts.
Text-to-911 will be a complement to, not a substitute for, voice calls to 911 services, and consumers should always make a voice call to 911 during an emergency if they can. These rules are intended to minimize the risk if consumers attempt to send text messages to 911 where the service is not available.
All wireless telephone companies and certain other text messaging providers are required by the FCC to send an automatic "bounce-back" message to any consumer who tries to send a text message to 911 where this service is not yet available.

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