9-1-1 emergency calls cannot be received via text messaging

Recognizing the many new ways to communicate, police are warning the public against using text messages for emergencies.

RCMP remind residents that 9-1-1 emergency calls cannot be received via text message at the call centre.

The RCMP would like to remind all residents in the Southeast District that 9-1-1 emergency calls cannot be received via a text message. The equipment is not available to receive text messages at the 9-1-1 Centre located in Kelowna.

Currently there is an increasing number of ways to communicate, with text, email, and social media becoming more widely used. Although these options are great for interpersonal communication, or commenting on the RCMP’s Facebook page, the RCMP is unable to accept reports of crime or other emergencies through text-based formats.

Recognizing the many new ways to communicate, police are warning the public against using text messages for emergencies. Wherever you are in North America, if you dial 911 the telephone system is going to direct your call to the closest 911 centre to you. There is not a universal text number for 911 so if you are to text it, it is not going to go anywhere.

There is also no way for the caller to verify whether or not their text message has been received at a 911 centre and it is dangerous to assume that help is on the way when no voice contact has been made with an operator to confirm this.