Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and Speech Impaired (DHHSI) Community

Text with 9-1-1

Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) is a special text-messaging service for pre-registered Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and Speech Impaired (DHHSI) persons to access 9-1-1 services.


Click here to learn more about texting with 9-1-1 in the Metro Vancouver area.

T9-1-1 works differently than regular texting and there are very important things DHHSI persons need to know and do in order to access this special text service:

  • You must register your cellphone with your service provider (e.g TELUS, Bell, Rogers) in advance. There is a website that has been set up for this: http://textwith911.ca/wireless-service-providers/
  • You must have a cellphone that can make voice calls and send/receive texts. If you are not sure if your cellphone can do both, you should check with your service provider (e.g. TELUS, Bell, Rogers).
  • You must call from one of the communities listed here to use T9-1-1
  • In an emergency, you must first dial 9-1-1 like any other caller to establish a voice connection – this is the only way a text session can start.

Members of the DHHSI community should visit www.TextWith911.ca to register their cellphones with their wireless service provider and to learn more about how the system works.

In order to access the service, DHHSI callers must:

  • Pre-register their cellphone with their wireless carrier. You must have a cellphone capable of making voice calls and sending/receiving text messages. http://textwith911.ca/wireless-service-providers/
  • Call from a community within E-Comm’s service area*
  • Dial 9-1-1 as though you were making a voice call. You must dial 9-1-1 first to start the service. Do not start texting until you have received a text from 9-1-1.
  • If you do not receive a text from 9-1-1 within two minutes, end the call (hang up) and dial 9-1-1 again.
  • Wait for the 9-1-1 operator’s questions and answer in text. Example questions will be “police, fire or ambulance?” your location or address, your name and what is happening.
  • Do not hang up the voice call while texting. By keeping the line open 9-1-1 operators are able to get the caller’s name, location information and hear any background noises. This is all important information.
  • Keep your text messages brief and short. Spell out words as best you can (e.g. "be right back" not "BRB"). Use words that a 9-1-1 operator would know.
  • When the 9-1-1 operator has all the information, they will let you know that help is on the way.
  • Stay on the line until the 9-1-1 operator tells you it’s safe to hang up. You will receive an “End of 9-1-1 Call” text to confirm session has finished.

Please note that at this time service is available in English and if required, the 9-1-1 operator will try to get a French interpreter.


Click here to learn more about texting with 9-1-1 in the Metro Vancouver area.

NOTE: Calls to 9-1-1 via TTY (telephone typewriter) units will continue to be accepted. For more information on TTY please visit http://deafwellbeing.vch.ca/about.htm.

Locations where T9-1-1 is available (*E-Comm Service Area):

Metro Vancouver– Anmore, Belcarra, Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta/Tsawassen/Ladner, Langley (City and Township), Lions Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver (District and City), Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver and White Rock.

Squamish Lillooet Regional District South–Pemberton Meadows, Mt. Currie, D’Arcy Corridor, Whistler-Pemberton Corridor, Furry Creek, Britannia, Porteau, Upper Squamish, Upper Cheakamus, Ring Creek, Pinecrest/Black Tusk Village, Pemberton, Squamish and Whistler.

Sunshine Coast Regional District– Egmont, Elphinstone, Gibsons, Halfmoon Bay, Pender Harbour, Roberts Creek, Sechelt, West Howe Sound.

Other areas – University of BC, University Endowment Lands, Barnston Island), Howe Sound Communities (Ocean Point, Strachan Point, Montizambert Wynd, Bowyer Island and Passage Island), Indian Arm/Pitt Lake Communities (Boulder Island, Carraholly Point, Northern Portion of Indian Arm and West side of Pitt Lake).

If a caller uses a TTY, the caller should:

  • Stay calm and dial 9-1-1 from their TTY device
  • Give the 9-1-1 call-taker a moment to respond (this is important). The 9-1-1 call-taker should answer you by typing "911, Police, Ambulance or Fire GA" (for "Go Ahead".)
  • Tell the 9-1-1 call-taker what you need by typing: "police, fire department, or ambulance." Type your name, address and phone number and confirm where help is needed.
  • Stay on the telephone/TTY if it is safe to do so. Answer the 9-1-1 call-taker's questions.

If a deaf or hearing/speech impaired caller doesn't have a TTY unit or pre-registered cellphone for T911, the caller should dial 9-1-1 from a landline telephone and not hang up. The line will remain open. If you are calling from your home phone or a business telephone (a phone that plugs directly into a telephone outlet in the wall) the caller's address is displayed on the 9-1-1 call-taker's screen. This will allow the 9-1-1 call-taker to send police.

For more information on TTY visit: deafwellbeing.vch.ca/about.htm

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