County rolls out Text-to-911



Media Advisory
County rolling out Text-to-911 service

      Lancaster County Public Safety Communications will begin accepting text-to-911 service for all in its area on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Mobile phone users will have the ability to send a text of up to 140 characters to 9-1-1 in case of an emergency. All phone carriers have been tested and are able to use this feature. This includes Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, among others.

      Text-to-911 should only be used in the instance of an actual emergency when placing a call is not possible. For instance, if the caller is deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech impaired, or when speaking out loud would place the caller in danger.

      Robert Purser, director of Lancaster County Public Safety Communications, hopes this new software will make it easier for those in Lancaster County to reach 9-1-1.

      “Voice calls are still the best and fastest way to get assistance from 911,” Purser said. “However, this gives us another resource we didn’t have before to better serve the citizens of Lancaster County. Call if you can, text if you can’t.”

If there is an emergency and you are unable to make a call, it is important to remember the following steps:
  • Don’t text and drive.
  • In the first text message, send your location and the type of emergency.
  • Text in simple words – send a short text message in English without abbreviations or slang terms.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.
      Don’t Abuse 9-1-1. The text-to-911 service is only for emergencies. It is a crime to text or call 9-1-1 with a false report. Prank texters can be located.

      A text or data plan is required to place a text-to-911. As with all text messages, messaging 9-1-1 may take longer to receive, may get out of order, or may not be received at all. If you do not receive a response from 9-1-1, try to contact emergency services by calling 9-1-1 and speaking with someone directly.

     Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 through text at this time, and messages cannot include more than one person. Messages sent to a group that includes 9-1-1 will not be received.

     Voice calls to 911 are still the best and fastest way to contact 9-1-1. The text-to-911 service is not available everywhere in South Carolina or in the United States.

      To view a "how-to" video on Text-to-911, visit