HONOLULU (KHON2) – Did you know you can text 911 in Hawaii if you are having an emergency but are unable to talk on the phone. 

According to the State of Hawaii texting 911 is an emergency service that is provided to all mobile users in the state.

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Calling and speaking to a dispatcher is still the fastest and most efficient way if you are having an emergency, however not everyone has that luxury.

The state strongly suggests only texting 911 if you are unable to make a phone call.

Examples when to text 911:

  • If you are in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call to 911.
  • If you are experiencing a medical emergency that renders you incapable of speaking or hearing.
  • If you are unable to call 911 due to being in a location with sporadic cellular voice service.
  • If you are unable to speak or hear due to injury or physical restraint.

When you call 911 in Hawaii, the dispatcher can pull information like your phone number and location. When texting 911 they don’t know your exact whereabouts. 

If you need to send a text message, it is important to give an accurate address or location as soon as possible, if available. 

Your text might take longer to get help and the 911 Center will have to go back and forth trying to understand your emergency and know your exact location. 

What you’ll need to provide when texting 911:

  • You will need to provide your location 
  • The type of emergency you have (Police, Fire, or Ambulance) 
  • An address if you know it, including floor or room number if you are in a building 
  • Send brief messages, but don’t use abbreviations

Dispatchers at the 911 Center will then respond with text questions pertaining to your situation. Currently their system can only support SMS which is limited to 160 characters per text. 

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At this time pictures, videos and emojis do not work and should not be sent. For more information head to the state of Hawaii’s website