You can now text 911 for emergencies in Maricopa County and Lake Havasu, according to a release put out Monday by the Glendale Fire Department.
Authorities say the service will allow anyone who is in immediate danger to text, as well as anyone who is hearing impaired or has a physical disability that keeps them from calling.
Officials rolled out the program on Monday with the message: "Call if you can. Text if you can't."
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says voice calling is the best option because texting does not give dispatchers your location.
"You will need to type out your location to the operator," Stanton said.
Currently, the system is only available in English and cannot handle group texts.
Officials say Maricopa County received the new system last August for $150,000.
How to text 911
- Type in 9-1-1 in the "To" field
- ALWAYS provide your exact location and nature of your emergency in the initial message
- Push the "Send" button
- Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 operator
- Avoid text abbreviations or slang
- Keep text messages short and concise
- Only use text-to-911 for emergency calls
- Voice calling is always the best option if you can safely do so