National Telecommunicators Week
April 12 - 18, 2015

Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as 911 Telecommunicators. Our 911 Telecommunicators answer thousands of calls in which they provide life saving pre arrival instructions to callers, as well as dispatch Law Enforcement, Fire Apparatus, and EMS to those in need of emergency services. National Telecommunicators Week provides an opportunity to recognize our Telecommunicators for the life-saving work they perform.

Burke County Emergency Communications Center joins the nation in honoring the men and women who field 911 calls, dispatch emergency responders, and handle other vital communications tasks.


On January 30, 2014 the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) adopted a policy statement with the goal that all wireless telephone companies and providers of interconnected text messaging services should enable consumers to send text message to 911. The commission encouraged industry developed solutions to achieve this goal, and proposed rules that would require all covered text providers to support text-to-911 by December 31, 2014.

text911The four largest carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, & Verizon) volunteered to make text-to-911 available to all PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Point) by May 15, 2014. The Commission has encouraged PSAPs to begin accepting texts as text providers develop text-to-911 capability. It is up to each PSAP to decide whether and when to begin accepting texts.

The text-to-911 won't work for callers whose phones are registered outside our MSA (North and South Carolina).

What you need to know about Text-to-911

How to text 9-1-1 in an emergency:

  • Enter the numbers "911" in the "To" field;
  • The first text message to 9-1-1 should be brief and contain the location of the emergency and type of help needed;
  • Push the "Send" button.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
  • Text in simple words – do not use abbreviations.
  • Keep text messages brief and concise.

Things to know if you need to text 9-1-1:

  • Text location information is not equal to current location technology.
  • As with all text messages, 9-1-1 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order or may not be received.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 is not available if you are roaming.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a text-to-9-1-1
  • If texting to 9-1-1 is not available in your area, or is temporarily unavailable, you will receive a message indicating that texting 9-1-1 is not available and to contact 9-1-1 by other means.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time.
  • Text-to-9-1-1 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 9-1-1.
  • Do not text and drive!

Residents are encouraged not to "test" this service by texting 911 unnecessarily. Texts to 911 require the call taker to stay on that line, thus not allowing the call taker to answer other lines that could be life threatening emergencies.