Dickinson County Courthouse, Spirit Lake, Iowa

Text to 911

In 2017, Dickinson County 911 completed a series of upgrades to our 911 system. These upgrades allowed us to begin accepting text messages to 911.
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Location, Location, Location

The first question a 911 dispatcher will ask is "What is the location of your emergency?" Being able to provide your location will mean a quicker response by emergency personnel. If you have to call 911, be ready to provide an address, intersection, or highway number with mile marker.

Why would I want to use Text to 911?

Using Text-to-911 in an emergency might be helpful if you are deaf, hard of hearing, have a speech disability, or if making a voice call to 911 might be dangerous or not possible. However, if you are able to make a voice call to 911 and it is safe to do so, you should call instead of sending a text. Voice calls are usually the fastest, most efficient way to reach emergency help.

How do I send a text to 911?

Enter "911" in the "To" field of a new text message. Be sure to provide your location as soon as possible along with a short description of the emergency. Use simple words and do not use abbreviations, slang or emoticons. Do not text while driving and do not send a text to 911 that is a part of a group text.


We can not accept photos or videos via text message. If you send a message in an area where Text-to-911 isn't available, you'll receive a bounce-back message stating that the service isn't available and that you should call 911 instead.

NEVER text 911 just to see if it's working. It is illegal in Iowa to call OR text 911 if there is not an emergency. Doing so ties up our resources and it could hinder our ability to provide emergency services to someone who actually needs them.

Text to 911 is not available in all areas. If you try texting 911 in an area where this service is not available, you will receive a message back stating to call 911 instead.

For more information, visit the State of Iowa 911 website.