Text-to-911 service becomes available

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Residents of Albemarle County and Charlottesville can now reach out for help from police, EMTs or firefighters by text.

The Text-to-911 service is now available to the Albemarle-UVA-Charlottesville Emergency Communications Center.

This service is meant to be used in situations when a person cannot call for help.

However, the preferred method for contact the ECC will remain calling.

The Text-to-911 service can also be used by the deaf or hard of hearing, by people who are in dangerous situations and are afraid to speak out loud, or by a person in a medical emergency that prevents them from talking.

People who are trying to text for help will need to have an active data plan in order to use the service. A connection to WiFi alone will not allow the text to go through.

If a person is texting ECC, officials ask for an exact location to be included.

If a person attempts to text and does not receive a reply or gets an alert saying texting is not available, then ECC says they will need to call.

Officials say do not send photos, emojis or videos to 911, and text-to-911 services can only include one recipient, which means people cannot copy other people on the message.

For more information, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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