MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Residents in Montgomery County can now send texts to 911 in an emergency where speaking out loud is either not possible or would put the caller in danger.

The Montgomery County 911 Emergency Communications Center announced on Tuesday that wireless customers in Clarksville and across the county can now send a text with up to 140 characters to 911.

“This service adds a new channel of communication for those who are unable to make voice calls, such as those with hearing and speech impairments and those in an unsafe environment,” said Montgomery County 911 Director Hope Petersen.

The Montgomery County Emergency Communications District stressed that texts to 911 should only be used when placing a call is not possible, as text messages may take longer to receive, get out of order or not be received at all.

Voice calls are still the best and fastest way to contact 911.

Those who need to text 911 should send a short message briefly and concisely explaining the emergency, as well as stating their location. People should avoid using abbreviations, slang, photos or any other language that may be confusing.

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Once a text is sent, a 911 dispatcher will follow up with questions and instructions.

A text or data plan is still required to send a text to 911. Users are also reminded not to text and drive, and that it is still a crime to text 911 with a false report.