(WHTM) — Calling 911 has been around since the number was officially named the United States emergency number in 1968. But texting 911 is something that is much newer.

Text-to-911 is available in most Pennsylvania counties. It allows emergency dispatchers to ask more questions about your emergency, such as confirming the location and the people involved.

Texting 911 would be most helpful according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency in the following emergency situations.

  • An emergency in which making noise could cause harm to the caller, such as an active robber or a domestic violence situation
  • People who have speech or hearing impairments.

To send a 911 text, PEMA states the following:

  • Type 911 in the “To” field on your phone
  • describe the location and include the address and municipality
  • Describe the situation and include what type of emergency help is needed
  • Hit “send”

A text or data plan is required to text 911 and they cannot include more than one person. For the text to send correctly, you need to make sure there is no one else in the recipient list, only 911.

You should not use abbreviations or emojis and location information will be limited to the nearest cell tower that is closest to you. The 911 dispatcher will not automatically know where you are.

To see if your county is included in the Text-to-911 program, click here for the most up-to-date map.

According to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, public safety answering points have begun the process of adding the service across the state. Once the upgrade to Next Generation 911 is complete, every Public Safety Answering Point in the state will have the ability to receive text messages.