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Ask HPD: Text to 911

Question: I saw a story on texting 911, but how does it work?

Answer: Text to 911 was launched in Hawaii late last year. It’s an emergency service that is provided to all mobile users in the state, including visitors from out-of-state. It allows someone to use their activated cell phone to contact the 911 center via text message instead of calling 911.

Question: When can I use Text to 911?

Answer: You should only use Text to 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 where you are unable to speak or hear, if you are unable to call 911 due to sporadic cell coverage, and if you are unable to speak or hear due to an injury or physical restraint. Remember, "Call if you can. Text if you can't."

Question: Does this impact police response time?

Answer: Calling 911 is still a faster and more efficient way relaying an emergency to the Police, Fire, Ambulance, or Ocean Safety. Calling 911 will also allow the 911 center to access your location.

Question: Can I send photos/videos of my emergency?

Answer: At this time, Text to 911 does not support picture or video messaging. Also, your phone must also be text-enabled and must have a text plan to work. For more information on Text to 911, visit

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Ask HPD will also air on the KHON2 News morning show, Wake Up 2Day.