Need to report an emergency? Soon you can text 911

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PITTSBURGH - Verizon customers in Allegheny County will soon be able to send text messages to 911 to report an emergency.

County leaders said the new technology is a great tool in case of emergency.

“I think it’s moving forward, so that’s good,” Melissa Roman said. “But I think it could cause trouble because I know people at my old job called 911 by accident just dialing out.”

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said because of the 160 characters-per-text limit, emergency dispatchers need as much information as possible. He also said to not text abbreviations.

“Try to provide the location information and nature of the emergency in the first text to 911. It’s imperative for our dispatchers at the 911 center to gain as quickly as possible your location,” one official said.

Officials said calling 911 is still the best way to get help fastest, but this is a good option to have.

“I think it’s a good option. I’ve never been in that situation, but I think it’s a good option to have,” Sean Naccarelli said.

Keep in mind -- right now, it’s only available to Verizon customers. Hopefully, the other major carriers will join in soon.