(TNS) -- Hawaii residents can now send a text message to alert authorities or summon help in an emergency.
“Text-to-911” service is limited to no more than 160 characters and can’t contain photos, videos or emojis. An active wireless service including a text or data plan is required, with device location activated.
The service may not be available on wireless devices in roaming mode or outside of the service provider’s coverage area.
Hawaii is the seventh state to implement Text-to-911, following Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Indiana, North Dakota and New Jersey.
While texting to report an emergency is now available, officials said calling 911 dispatchers is more efficient because location information is more readily available to emergency responders than via text.
“While voice calls are always best, Text-to-911 service provides practical mobile emergency communications for our deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired communities,” Gov. David Ige said in a news release.
Courtney Tagupa, executive director of Hawaii’s Enhanced 911 Board, said, “Text messaging is one of the primary ways we communicate today and texting 911 can save lives when it’s safer not to speak, such as a home invasion or situations involving domestic violence or an active shooter.”
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