Naperville Launches Text to 911 Capability for Emergencies

When reaching out to 911: Call if you can; Text if you can’t.

Naperville’s Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) announced today, Sept. 20, that it has integrated texting into its 911 answering system, allowing citizens in need of emergency services in Naperville to reach the 911 dispatch center by text when calling is not an option.

In an emergency, customers with Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile/Sprint wireless service can now send a text to Naperville’s dispatch center to request police, fire or emergency medical assistance from the Naperville Police and Fire departments. Text to 911 should only be used when placing an emergency call is not possible. Acceptable uses could include a caller who is deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech impaired or when speaking out loud would put the caller in danger.

“This is a great public safety enhancement for the City of Naperville. Text to 911 gives citizens facing an emergency another way to contact 911 dispatchers for help,” said Emergency Communications Manager Jillianne Chuffo. “Our dedicated team in PSAP is here for you, 24/7, 365 days a year. We encourage you to remember: Call if you can, text if you can’t and know that we’ll be on the other end of the line to help you.”

If there is an emergency and you are unable to make a call, remember these steps:

  • Don’t text and drive.
  • Enter the numbers “911” in the “To” or “Recipient” field.
  • Include the location of the emergency and the type of help needed in your first text.
  • Send short text messages without abbreviations, slang or emojis.
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker.

This texting service is not intended to replace voice calls to 911, which are preferred because they make it easier for dispatchers to get pertinent information during crimes in progress and to give life-saving instructions. These directions can be extremely critical in time-sensitive criminal incidents or in providing medical assistance such as CPR and basic first aid. Voice calls are the fastest, most efficient way to reach emergency help.

“While we want to emphasize that calling 911 is still the fastest, most reliable way to contact us, we know that offering texting as an option is critical in so many scenarios,” said Chuffo. “We’re thankful to be able to offer texting as an option for citizens who have an emergency but aren’t able to speak – either because it’s not safe or because of a disability.”

Other notable information and tips for using Text to 911 include:

  • A text or data plan is required to place a Text to 911.
  • Location information for those texting 911 is not equal to the information received when a call is made.
  • As with all text messages, messages to 911 may take longer to receive, may be received out of order, or may not be received at all.
  • Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911 at this time.
  • Text to 911 cannot include more than one person. Do not send your emergency text to anyone other than 911.
  • Text to 911 is only for emergencies. It is a crime to text or call 911 with a false report.

The City’s website contains additional information about Text to 911 at www.naperville.il.us/textto911.


About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at www.naperville.il.us.