Text messages currently outpace voice calls on mobile devices, but there is one call that cannot be replaced with a text: an emergency 911 call. Text messages sent to 911 do NOT go through, however, some consumers continue to text 911 when they need emergency assistance. When every second counts, it is important to make a voice call to deliver all relevant information in the most efficient matter.

Cellcom and many other wireless carriers will send “bounce-back” or reply messages to people who text 911. These messages notify users that they need to make a voice call and text service to 911 is not available. The FCC is requiring that by Sept. 30 of this year, all cell phone carriers must send bounce-back messages to 911 texts.

The wireless industry is working with the FCC and 9-1-1 centers to make text-to-911 an option, however, for the foreseeable future a voice call remains the best option for reaching emergency operators.