Gregg County is among 10 in East Texas where text to 911 now is available to residents experiencing an emergency when unable to make a voice call.
East Texas Council of Governments is working to spread word about the service with radio ads in English and Spanish, commercials at movie theaters and on billboards.
ETCOG representatives have successfully tested the service using wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in Gregg, Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Marion, Panola, Rains, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties, according to a statement.
To use the service, residents will send a text as normal to the number 911. The system will reply with an automatically generated message asking for an address. A reply with the address begins the text session with a 911 operator.
ETCOG cautions that the text to 911 service should be restricted to situations in which someone is unable to speak due to physical limitations or present danger.
ETCOG offers these tips when using text to 911:
■ Know your exact location;
■ Know the nature of your emergency;
■ Use simple language and no abbreviations or slang; and
■ Do not text and drive.