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Texting 911 becomes even more useful with RCS

Someone texting 911 on the side of the road to report a fallen tree.

Calling 911 in emergency situations isn’t always possible. In those moments, texting 911 may be the most helpful option. This is why, in partnership with emergency technology company RapidSOS, we'll begin gradually rolling out the ability to text 911 with RCS (Rich Communication Services) to U.S. emergency call centers this winter, starting in areas where text-to-911 capabilities are currently not supported to close gaps in emergency communications coverage and provide new safety benefits. First available on Google Messages, emergency texting with RCS will bring critical safety communications capabilities to you when you need it most.

A new way to reach 911 with RCS

Today, you can already text 911 through SMS in some locations. However, texting 911 through SMS is only available for around 53% of U.S. emergency responder call centers and doesn’t always allow you to share pictures and videos1. Using RCS to reach 911 brings new safety benefits and allows you to:

  • Confirm delivery of your emergency request and see if emergency responders are actively replying to your messages. This eliminates the uncertainty of waiting to see if your messages went through.
  • Send high-resolution images and videos to give first responders a clearer picture of your situation. This can be crucial to aid a faster and more effective response from emergency service providers.
  • Share your precise location and additional information automatically through Android Emergency Location Service, like your language settings and opt-in Medical Information, so emergency responders know exactly where to go and can get helpful details from you even if you’re unable to reply.
Users texting pictures in an RCS message to 911 about a fallen tree.

Emergency texting gets better for everyone

As part of our commitment to user safety, we’re actively working with partners across the industry to expand access to emergency services through RCS. Our goal is to make RCS the standard for emergency services texting everywhere, and we’re inviting the ecosystem to partner with us to provide reliable emergency messaging for everyone.

For the latest features and app updates, visit the Google Messages website or download the app from the Google Play Store.

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