The major cellphone carriers are working with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to let people know that texting 911 does not work.
Starting Monday, Minnesotans who text 911 will get an automatic reply.
Authorities want to make sure people get help when they need it, said Dana Wahlberg of the agency's emergency communication networks.
"In the past, folks may attempt to make a text call to 911 and not receive any type of bounce-back message," Wahlberg said, "and so they're left wondering if their call went through, or maybe assuming that it did go through and then finding themselves not receiving the assistance that they had requested."
The Department of Public Safety worked with AT&T, T Mobile, Verizon and Sprint to send an automatic reply to anyone texting 911. The message instructs them to call instead.
Many people expect to be able to text 911, Wahlberg said.
"With their smartphones, people are used to having that technology, and they are able to text their friends, restaurants for reservations, they can text almost anywhere, except to 911," Wahlberg said. "So that's the message that we're really trying to get across."
Some areas of the country are trying out a 911 texting service, but it's not available in Minnesota yet.
The text service could help people with hearing or speech disabilities, and it could give people another option in situations where placing a call would put them in more danger.