Boston, MA - The New Year brought a new way to reach out in a time of crisis, or should I say the end of last year did.

Many of us may not know this, but on December 14, 2018, Text-to-9-1-1 was implemented throughout the Commonwealth. Not only does it make emergency personnel much more accessible, but it also takes away some of the vulnerability that victims may face in certain situations.

Here’s how the process works:

When you send a text to 9-1-1, it will be immediately routed to a local emergency call center based on the information received. That means that every citizen that reaches out to emergency personnel this way should provide the town or city name they are in and the address.

There are still some common questions that may arise prior to using this system. Some of them are outlined below:

How do I text 9-1-1?

All you have to do is go into your texting app and type in 911 into the “To” or “Recipient” field. Then, in the message box, provide your location.

What other information should I provide in the text message?

Try your hardest to include what’s happening and any details about the incident or location you can fit in. Specifically narrow in on details that will help officials find you.

When should you use this emergency texting system?

We understand that texting may be a more convenient way to access emergency personnel, but all citizens must keep in mind that voice calling should always come first. The only way the texting system should be used is if a voice call cannot be made at the time of the incident. If a voice call is going to put you in more danger, use the emergency texting system.

The texting system will be very handy for the deaf, impaired speech, and hard of hearing.

What happens next?

The emergency call center is likely to ask you questions and provide instructions on what you should do next.

What else should you keep in mind?

-          If the text does not go through, you are likely to get what is known as a bounce-back message. This will assure you that the message was not received and emergency personnel are not on their way. In this case, try to send the text again.

-          Do not send pictures via this system.

-          Do not send a message that’s more than 160 characters, as this could have the texts come into the call center out of order.

-          Do not include other recipients in the message.