MARSHALL COUNTY, KY — The Marshall County E911 Center will soon offer the ability to text 911 in an emergency — making it the fourth public-safety answering point in Kentucky to join the Text-to-911 program.

The service offers a way to contact 911 in an abduction, home break-in, an active shooter situation and other emergencies when it may not be safe to speak aloud. In a news release announcing newly available service, Marshall County Parks Department Director Britney Heath notes that text capability will also help deaf and hearing-impaired people contact 911 more easily, as well as people cannot communicate verbally.

The Federal Communication Text-to-911 program encourages emergency call centers to implement technology to accept text messages. In Kentucky, Carlisle County E911, Owensboro-Daviess County 911 and Frankfort-Franklin County E911 are registered text-to-911 call centers.

Most places still don’t have text-to-911 capabilities, so the FCC requires all wireless carriers to send a bounce-back message to anyone who texts 911 in an area where it isn’t available. And the FCC advises that calling 911 is still the most reliable way to contact emergency services, even where texting is available.

People who are speech disabled, deaf or hard of hearing can also use a telecommunications relay service if 911 texting is not available where they live. For more information about TRS services, click here.