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Text to 911: More than 920 Texts Sent Since December 2017

Three months of Text-to-911 in MinnesotaText-to-911 is changing how Minnesotans ask for help during an emergency. New data shows steady use of the service during the first three months of deployment. Dispatchers report 920 texts to 911, an average of about 307 texts every month. Text-to-911 is a direct line to dispatchers for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. It also serves as an alternative for people who must remain quiet during an emergency to stay safe.

The following are actual texts to 911 during the first three months of service as reported by dispatchers. 

  • A person reported shots fired outside their home after hearing the shots and seeing the gunfire through a window. The microphone on their phone was disabled.
  • A child texted 911 when their parents were having a domestic dispute. The child was previously punished by their parents after placing a voice call to 911 in a similar situation.
  • A person hid in the basement during a burglary. They were scared to make a voice call because the intruder may have heard them. 
  • A suicidal individual did not feel comfortable talking to someone, so they texted for help instead.
  • A person had difficulty breathing from a panic attack and could not speak, so they texted 911.
While the data is positive, there is room for improvement. Dispatchers report many Minnesotans are texting 911 for non-emergencies or situations in which it would be acceptable to call 911 instead. Dispatchers also report many delayed responses when they asked for an address of the emergency. Remember, call if you can. Text if you can’t.


Public Safety Communications Conference

Mark your calendars for the 9th annual Minnesota Public Safety Communications Conference scheduled for April 23 - 25, 2018. We will again convene at the St. Cloud River's Edge Convention Center for three days of learning and networking. Registration is expected to open on March 15th. 

More information is available at the registration website.

Featured Video

Video Description: After three years of diligent work with various stakeholders, the Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Communication Networks division announces the statewide availability of Text-to-911.