NENA 9-1-1: How NENA’s Release Guide to Handling Text-to-911 in the PSAP Can Help First Responders

Posted in All, NGA911 on Mar 06, 2023

As the need for modern emergency services continues to grow, so does the demand for more efficient and accurate emergency response. NENA’s Release Guide to Handling Text-to-911 in the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) is an essential tool in achieving this goal. 

This guide provides vital information and suggestions on how best to handle text messages sent by individuals in need during an emergency. It outlines best practices for PSAPs, and how first responders and dispatchers should respond when a 9-1-1 text message is received. 

In this blog from our trusted NG911 providers and experts at NGA, we’ll dive into what makes NENA’s Release Guide to Handling Text-to-911 so important. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What Exactly is NENA?

  2. What Does The NENA Text-to-911 Release Guide Cover?

  3. Why is This Guide Important? 

  4. How can PSAPs use the Release Guide? 

  5. Understanding Why Implementing Text Messaging for 9-1-1 is Essential 

  6. Conclusion 

People Also Ask?

What does NENA mean to 9-1-1?

NENA stands for the National Emergency Number Association when regarding the 9-1-1 industry. Their motto includes providing Emergency help, anytime and anywhere, from any device.  

What Exactly is NENA?

NENA, the National Emergency Number Association, is a non-profit organization that leads the emergency communications industry. NENA is dedicated to enhancing public safety through its commitment to improving 9-1-1 technology across the United States and around the globe. 

NENA works with public safety industry leaders and professionals nationwide to design and implement essential programs and initiatives. The association focuses its efforts on the Next Generation 911 (NG911) emergency telecommunications system to provide more reliable, streamlined, and effective emergency services to the general public. 

To do this, NENA also provides training and education for all 911 professionals and advocates for enhanced local, state, and federal policy changes. Since its founding in 1981, the National Emergency Number Association has become integral to strengthening our nation’s emergency response system.

What Does The NENA Text-to-911 Release Guide Cover?

The NENA 9-1-1 release guide covers multiple aspects of Text-to-911 operations in the PSAP. 

It covers topics such as: 

  • Text-to-911 response procedures and protocols 

  • Suggestions for staffing reviews and increases

  • The need for system security features and training for call center staff 

  • Management considerations for PSAPs that are considering introducing or expanding their Text-to-911 capabilities 

  • Potential operational enhancements that may be made available through new technologies or upgrades to existing systems  

  • Public and community training regarding voice calls and Text-to-911 

In addition, there are sections devoted to best practices related to staffing, training, and quality assurance measures.  

Why is This Guide Important? 

NENA’s Release Guide to Text-to-911 is important because it provides an up-to-date overview of all the components necessary for successful Text-to-911 operations in the PSAP. Providing clear direction on how best to prepare, manage, and measure success with such operations helps ensure that all participants understand how these processes should work. 

Additionally, outlining best practices related to staffing, training, and quality assurance helps offer guidance on ensuring that emergency dispatchers know to provide effective service when responding to incoming texts. 

Furthermore, providing operational enhancement suggestions through new technologies or system upgrades can help public safety organizations stay ahead of technological changes while continuing to offer reliable services.   

How can PSAPs use the Release Guide? 

The release guide is designed to help PSAPs understand how they can best utilize text-to-911 services in their operations. It provides detailed instructions on implementing these services and guidance on how dispatchers respond to incoming texts. 

Additionally, the guide provides tips on how PSAPs can ensure that their systems are properly set up and running smoothly. 

Understanding Why Implementing Text Messaging for 9-1-1 is Essential 

Not all emergencies can receive resolution with a voice call. Sometimes, situations happen where texting 9-1-1 is the only safe option for contacting help. 

These situations can include:

  • Domestic violence

  • Home invasions

  • School and/or campus violence incidents 

  • Bank robberies 

  • Workplace violence incidents 

Other such incidents can include when silence keeps individuals needing assistance safe. Texting 9-1-1 is also beneficial for individuals with speech difficulties or hearing impairments. ‘

Because in these situations, voice calls to 9-1-1 can put the safety of individuals at risk, PSAPs, and other public safety agencies must consider texting to 911 as a valid emergency services communication solution. With NG911, dispatchers can obtain vital information like emergency type and text messenger location through text messaging

As our society transitions to mobile and digital technologies for communication, public safety organizations must update their systems to adapt. With specific emergencies requiring silence to keep people safe, implementing Text-to-911 services can better ensure that individuals can contact help and be safely removed from a drastic incident. 


NENA’s “Release Guide To Handling Text-to-911 In The Public Safety Answering Point” provides invaluable insight into how PSAPs effectively incorporate texting into their operations while meeting all requirements. 

Whether you are already using Text-to-911 or planning on introducing it soon, this invaluable resource guide is essential for anyone interested in handling emergency texts in the public safety sector. Utilizing this guide, along with best practices, you can ensure that your PSAP is prepared to offer 911 texting to those in your community looking for help during an emergency.

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