The Heart of Texas Council of Governments (HOTCOG) Regional 911 Program announced Friday a "Text-to-9-1-1" service is now available in Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill and Limestone counties.

The emergency texting service allows citizens to send a text message directly to 911 for assistance in the event they are unable to make a phone call.

Using the feature is simple. Type 9-1-1 in the recipient field, write a message in the text box explaining the emergency at hand, and press send. Once the text is sent, the 911 system will send back an automated message asking the individual for his or her address of the emergency.

HOTCOG stressed to the public "Text-to-9-1-1" should only be used for emergencies when someone is unable to speak.

Examples of such situations include, but are not limited to: a person with a hearing and/or speech disability, or when speaking out loud would put the individual in danger.

When using the "Text-to-9-1-1" service, the individual must know his or her exact location and nature of the emergency. HOTCOG urges texters use simple language and no abbreviations or slang in 911 text messages.

If an individual attempts to text 911 in an area where service is not available, he or she will receive a "bounce back" message that will tell the individual to make an emergency voice call.

Bell and McLennan counties do not yet have text-to-911 technology.

For more information about the 'Text-to-9-1-1" service, contact Kristine Hill at 254-292-1800 or email at Information can also be found on HOTCOG’s website.