Author: Amelia MuellerAmelia Mueller is the North Central Texas Emergency Communication District's communications coordinator. Her responsibilities include managing and its social media platforms, creating educational content, managing the public education program, and more.

Can I Connect My Address to My Cell Phone? Sort of.

Can I Connect My Address to My Cell Phone? Sort of.

You want to know how to connect your cell phone to your home address in case you have to dial 911. We get this question a lot, or it’s close cousin: “Doesn’t 911 automatically know my location when calling on a cell phone?”  

Wireless location accuracy is different than wireline. On a wireline- – or landline — phone, your address is registered with your landline phone number and stored in the Master Street Addressing Guide (MSAG). We manage that for our region. When you dial out on a landline, your address is associated with your phone number and the 911 telecommunicator can see it. Simple, right? So, what happens when you call on a cell phone? 

We’ve gone into more detail about wireless location accuracy in other blogs, but your device is either triangulated with legacy technology and gives the 911 telecommunicator an approximate location within 300 meters, or enhanced location technology is used to find a more accurate determination of your location.  There’s a lot more to it than that, but what we’re saying is you don’t have to register your address with your cell phone to reach 911. The only exception to this is wifi calling. 

What is Wifi Calling? 

Wifi calling just means you’re placing a wireless call over a wifi signal instead of a typical cell phone signal. Wifi calling is generally used when a cell signal is weak, and it will set up automatically if your device is connected to a wifi signal. You can use it to talk or text and when you set up your phone, it asks you for an address to register for wifi calling.  

If you call 911 with a cell signal, your location is determined by one of the processes we described earlier. If you call over wifi, your call will be routed based on the address you provided. You can set up your address in the settings of your device, but this information is not stored or maintained by your local law enforcement or county addressing coordinator’s office. Carriers maintain and update this data. You can read more about your carrier’s wifi calling services below. 


AT&T’s address database is maintained by a third party, not NCT9-1-1. If you are unable to set up your address for wifi calling with your device, you must contact the AT&T Mobility (ATTMO) Customer Care Center at 1-800-331-0500.  


A valid address must be used for wifi calling. Verizon recommends validating your emergency address with the USPS or entering an alternative address through their website. 


You can set up you e911 address with T-Mobile within you’re my T-Mobile account. 

911 and Wifi Calling 

When you dial 911 over a wifi signal, the call will route to the call center based on your registered address. This is why carriers do not allow you to register an unverifiable address. If you connect to wifi outside of your registered address, such as at your place of work, the call will still be routed based on your registered address and not your current location. The 911 telecommunicator will also receive the registered address as the location of your emergency. If you move locations and call 911 over wifi, you must update your registered address. 

Four 911 Myths and Why They’re Dangerous

Four 911 Myths and Why They’re Dangerous

Everyone knows what three digits to call during an emergency, but we always hear rumors about the 911 industry. We’re not sure where these assumptions come from, but every now and then we like to share the latest 911 myths and set the record straight. This week we’re discussing our top four from the past year, but look at the last time we addressed popular emergency number myths. 

Myth 1: You will be charged for dialing 911 

We hear this most often from our more senior public, but this is also a common query on search engines. Luckily 911 is supported by public funds, so it doesn’t cost you anything to dial those three digits. Every state has a different approach to processing 911 funds, but in the NCT9-1-1 service area, you pay a 911 service fee on every phone bill. After going through some formalized budgetary processes at the capital, that money is distributed to the various 911 authorities across the state. Your local law enforcement office may also have a budget to support communications.  

You may be charged for emergency medical services, such as riding in an ambulance to a hospital, but that cost depends on the hospital and your own health insurance policy.  

Myth 2: You can’t text 911 

This actually depends on where you live. Those living in the NCT9-1-1 service area have been able to text 911 since 2013,  but only about 25% of the country has text-to-9-1-1. It’s always better to call if you can and text if you can’t, but if you text in an area that doesn’t offer text, you’ll receive a bounce back message. 

How to Text 911

Myth 3:  911 can’t call you back 

In most cases, 911 will receive your phone number and is able to call you back. The only exception is if you call on an inactive cell phone (or a phone that isn’t connected to a call plan). Though you will be able to reach 911, they will not receive location information or a call back number. You should also still confirm your phone number with the 911 call taker to make sure they have the right information. 

Myth 4: 911 automatically knows your location when you call on a cell phone 

We’ve said it a hundred times but we’ll say it again: 911 does not always get your exact location when you call on a cell phone. They may receive your approximate location, which is accurate within about 300 meters (or 3 football fields). That’s why it is always important to immediately tell the 9-1-1 call taker where you are and never assume they can track you.  


Top Tips for a Safe Fourth of July

Top Tips for a Safe Fourth of July

July 4th is just around the corner, and though it’s a time to celebrate and gather with friends and family, to the public safety industry it’s a busy night for emergencies. Help your local police, fire, and emergency medical professionals (not to mention 9-1-1 telecommunicators!) by following these safety tips.  

Fireworks Safety  

Flames and July 4th go together like that other American favorite: peanut butter and jelly. From grilling to fireworks, we love to use heat to celebrate our independence. Unfortunately, that can lead to accidents and calls to 9-1-1 for emergency assistance. Stay safe this year with these firework safety tips.  

  • Know your local laws. In Texas, different counties or cities have different laws about what is permissible with fireworks. Some don’t allow them at all, some depend on whether a burn ban is in action, etc.  
  • Never point fireworks at people, pets, cars, or structures.  
  • If you can shoot fireworks in your area, follow the instructions included on the packaging. Never shoot fireworks near dry grass or other easily flammable items. 
  • Have a bucket of water nearby for emergencies.  

Grilling Safety 

July sees the highest number of grill fires and accidents during the year. Don’t let you or your family and friends become part of the statistic.  

  • Never grill inside a structure, including a house, RV, or tent. 
  • Keep your grill clean to avoid old grease causing sudden flare-ups. 
  • Never leave a grill unattended and keep an eye on children and pets. 
  • Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting to avoid built up gas that could combust. 

Water Safety  

Boating on July 4th is an American as it gets, but it’s important to be cautious as this month has the highest amount of boating traffic. Other than wearing a life jacket and using an engine cut-off device, here are a few more key tips to stay safe on the water. 

  • Children shouldn’t be swimming without supervision. If they’re in the water, you should be too. 
  • Don’t overload your boat; always maintain capacity limits. 
  • Keep your distance from other boats before, during, and after fireworks. Many collisions occur during these popular events. To be extra cautious, wait for traffic to thin before heading back. 
  • Don’t boat under the influence. This seems obvious, but too many people ignore this simple rule or overestimate their limits. It’s not worth it. Wait until you dock to start drinking or assign a designated driver (or boater!). 

If you do experience an emergency, dial 9-1-1. Know that this night is one of the busiest for 9-1-1 call takers, so stay on the line until you get through. Hanging up and redialing will not get your call answered any faster. 

NCT9-1-1 Celebrates 30 Years of Innovation and Servant Leadership

NCT9-1-1 Celebrates 30 Years of Innovation and Servant Leadership

The North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) celebrates its 30-year anniversary today. Since its creation in 1991, NCT9-1-1 has established itself as a district committed to furthering innovation within the emergency number industry and in promoting its core values of heart, courage, and attitude.

“When I went to work for this 9-1-1 entity over thirty years ago, I knew I would have the opportunity to help people through our work,” said Director of 9-1-1 Christy Williams. “I couldn’t have dreamed of the amazing team who are passionate and dedicated to saving lives and making a difference! I am honored to be a part of something great.”

The district began as the North Central Texas Council of Governments 9-1-1 Program and transitioned to a regional emergency communications district in December 2018. This transition allowed for more local control, including the establishment of a Board of Managers made up of elected officials.

Today, the district serves over 1.7 million people across 13 North Texas counties and 40 plus Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), or 9-1-1 call centers. In celebration of its anniversary, the district is looking back at the key milestones it has achieved since its establishment in 1991 when its first 9-1-1 call was made in Collin County.

Some of those milestones include implementing Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping into the region, which allows for more precise location services; being the first in Texas and fifth in the nation to launch text-to-9-1-1; committing to Next Generation 9-1-1 services, which allows call takers to receive additional data and the opportunity for future implementation of photos and videos in 9-1-1 centers; and more. NCT9-1-1 continues to further innovation within the industry by providing resources and guidance as an early adopter to other 9-1-1 agencies and authorities looking to improve 9-1-1 services.

The full timeline of the history of NCT9-1-1 can be found at