King County residents can now text 911 during an emergency, but Pierce County residents still have to wait before they can begin texting first responders.

King County announced on Dec. 20 that it began text-to-911 services.

“However, South Sound 911 reminds callers that text-to-911 is not yet available in Pierce County,” a South Sound 911 news release stated. “South Sound 911 anticipate launching text-to-911 services countywide in February, 2019. If callers send a text to 911 in an area without text-to-911 service, they should receive an automatic reply stating the service is not available.”

Text-to-911 is available in some parts of Washington. There are a few things residents must know before they try the service;

- Texting to 911 is intended to benefit people who may not be able to speak or hear in an emergency. “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”

- When texting to 911 for an emergency, the first message should be the location of the emergency (including the city) and the type of emergency help needed such as police, fire or medical.

- Keep texts brief and concise, using full words.

- Stay with your phone, be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 operators.

- Pictures and video cannot be sent to 911.

For more information about text-to-911, including where services are available, visit