Posted on Mar 25, 2019
Residents in certain counties can now use text messages to reach help in case of emergencies
In the case of an emergency, most people’s primal instinct is to pick up their phones and dial 9-1-1. Although that should still be your first option, certain situations may require your silence in order to maintain your safety.
Alamo Area Council of Governments’ (AACOG) Regional 9-1-1 program is pleased to offer an alternative to dialing 9-1-1; though the help, coordination and dedication of multiple community partners, residents in Atascosa, Bandera, Frio, Gillespie, Karnes, Kendall and Wilson counties can now send a text message to seek help. “In a case of domestic violence, a home intruder, an abduction or an active shooter, Text To 9-1-1 may be the only alternative to call for help without compromising your safety”, says Marcela Medina, Director of Public Safety for AACOG.
In these particular circumstances – along with the opportunity to now provide direct access to 9-1-1 services for individuals with hearing or speech impairments – our first responders’ continued adoption of technology enhances existing systems and offers much-needed solutions. 
It is important to note, however, that this feature does not serve the entire country, nor the entire state of Texas for that matter. If you don’t fall within one of the aforementioned counties, you may receive a bounce-back message from your wireless provider asking you to call 9-1-1 for help. Because the Text to 9-1-1 service uses local cell towers, it is subject to the limitations and challenges as wireless calls.     
A few things to keep in mind when considering the Text to 9-1-1 service:      
  • Only use the text service when you are unable to make a phone call
  • Do not text and drive
  • Send your exact location and type of emergency
  • Silence your phone if noise may compromise your safety
  • Use plain language and avoid abbreviations or slang
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 9-1-1 at this time
Using the text to 9-1-1 service is just as serious as calling 9-1-1, and should only be used in case of emergencies. Do not use the text message service as a joke, prank, or when there is no emergency.
AACOG is a voluntary association of cities, counties, and special governmental districts serving the Alamo Area, which covers 13 counties and 12,582 square miles.  AACOG’s mission is to enhance the lives of all residents of the Alamo Region by working in mutual respect and partnership with all levels of government, the business sector, and the community at large to meet regional challenges and to create regional strengths.  For more information on AACOG, visit or call (210) 477-3275.