Alexandria residents can now text 911 if they find themselves in an emergency situation.
The city launched its Text to 911 system Wednesday.
City officials say the new system will be especially helpful to residents who are deaf or speech impaired. But it can also be used by residents who feel making a voice call may put them in danger.
“Our goal is to connect callers with emergency resources as quickly as possible,” said Director of Emergency Communications Renee Gordon. “We are asking callers to ‘Call if you can, text if you can’t.’”
Text-to-911 messages should include a specific address as dispatchers cannot pinpoint locations. Officials also warn that if a text message is misrouted, the sender may be asked to call so that a transfer can be completed. Dispatchers also cannot receive photos, videos or other Multimedia Messaging Service messages.
Alexandria is not the only place in Northern Virginia where residents can text 911 for help. Falls Church and Arlington launched their Text-to-911 system earlier this month. Fairfax County has had the capability since last year.
Click here to see whether you can text 911 in your area.