Texarkana residents are now able to text emergency messages directly to the Bi-State Emergency Communications Center.
"This is a great tool that will now allow us to communicate with you in those rare critical situations where you can't safely talk, such as if there were an intruder inside your home," said Shawn Vaughn, spokesman for Texarkana, Texas, Police Department.
However, the preferred way to reach emergency communications is to call 911 so you can talk directly to the dispatcher if that is an option.
Bi-State Emergency Communications serves residents of Texarkana, Texas, Texarkana, Ark., and Bowie County.
To text, simply enter 911 into the TO field on your phone. The message should contain the location of the emergency and the type of help needed.
The system cannot accept any pictures or video.
"Call if you can. Text if you can't," Vaughn said.
When texting 911, know the exact location and nature of the emergency. Use simple language and no abbreviations or slang.
For more information about Text-to-911, contact the Ark-Tex Council of Governments at 903-255-3521 or visit the website atcog.org.