Connecticut launches statewide text-to-911 system

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Marcus Solis has more on the new texting service to reach 911.

Connecticut residents can now use text messages to reach 911 emergency dispatchers.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Thursday that the state has launched the text-to-911 service as part of a new emergency communications system.

Officials say voice calls to 911 are still the best and fastest way to contact emergency services. The text service is aimed at people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability. It's also intended for when it's unsafe to place a voice call, such as during home invasions or acts of domestic violence.

Authorities say to use the new service, enter 911 into the "to" or "recipient" field, text a brief message that includes the location of the emergency and which emergency services are needed and then follow incoming directions.

"The safety and security of our residents is a top priority and this is an important innovation that will indubitably save lives," Malloy said. "There are emergency situations where a voice call to 911 is neither possible nor safe. This technology provides increased protection for residents, including victims of domestic violence and those who are deaf or hard of hearing, by increasing access to emergency responders in such scenarios."

Connecticut is one of only several states in the nation to roll out the Text-to-911 feature statewide.

"The Text-to-911 feature is a new alternative to calling 911 and designed for people who are in danger and are unable to speak," Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. "Residents in need of assistance now have a new tool to communicate with emergency services to get the help that they need. This will certainly help save lives, and I'm glad this technology is currently available in Connecticut."

For more information on the Text-to-911 system and to see a demonstration of the capability, visit Text911CT.org.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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