Text With 9-1-1
Frequently Asked Questions
Can anyone use T9-1-1?
No. Currently, only Deaf, Deafened, Hard of Hearing or Speech impaired (DHHSI) persons may register for this service.
How do I text with 9-1-1?
To be eligible, DHHSI persons must have a compatible cell phone and must register with their wireless service provider. Without registration, there is no access to T9-1-1 services. For a list of cellphones that meet T9-1-1 requirements refer to your wireless service provider's website.
How does the T9-1-1 service work?
When a DHHSI person requires 9-1-1 services, they must dial 9-1-1 on their cell phone to establish direct contact with the 9-1-1 call centre. They do not need to speak. Because of the registration process, the calltaker will receive an indicator with every T9-1-1 call to let them know that they must respond to the caller by text message. Until the caller receives that first text message from 9-1-1, they are not able to text with a calltaker.
What if I dial 9-1-1 and I do not receive a text response?
T9-1-1 is considered a “best efforts” service due to technology limitations associated with text messaging. This means like with any text message, that there is no guarantee a text message will be sent, delivered or received in a timely manner. In some instances, it may take longer than one minute to receive the initial text message.
What information should be sent by text?
The T9-1-1 service should only be used for emergency situations. The more specific you are when answering the questions from the call taker, the more quickly help can be sent. Text the following information: the location where help is needed, the service (police, ambulance or fire department) required, and the reason (what is wrong) that you need help with. The call taker will ask for more details based on these answers. Be sure to answer all questions as best as you can.
Do I have to provide location information in the text?
Yes. Providing location information and the nature of the emergency in the first message is important. The 9-1-1 call taker may receive an approximate GPS location of your cell phone with your 9-1-1 call, but is not a guaranteed accurate location. It is important that the caller confirms the exact location of the emergency to avoid unnecessary delays.
Is T9-1-1 available Canadawide?
T9-1-1 will be made available across the country as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPS or 9-1-1 Centre) make the appropriate network upgrades. The service availability section of the TEXT with 9-1-1 website located at www.textwith911.ca is updated regularly and is the best source of current information as to where in Canada T9-1-1 services are available.
How can you communicate with the Toronto Police Service for a non-emergency situation?
Anyone registered for T9-1-1 services in the city of Toronto can contact Toronto Police for non-emergency issues using the T9-1-1 service.
Text with 9-1-1 Tips
- You cannot text directly to the digits 9-1-1.
- The only way to reach 9-1-1 is to place a voice call.
- When DHHSI persons register for T9-1-1 services, the voice call will send a special indicator to the call taker so that they know to start a text conversation.
- Text messages should be brief and should answer only the questions that are asked by the call taker.
- Messages should not contain any short forms or slang.
- When travelling, keep in mind that currently T9-1-1 is not available in all areas of the province, or country.
The best resource for the most up-to-date information on T9-1-1, will continue to be the TEXT with 9-1-1 website.