TEMPLE, Texas — No matter what the emergency is, Bell County residents can now text dispatchers in need of help.

As of Sunday, the Bell County 911 Communications Center launched a new service to help anyone who is speech or hearing impaired, or for any one caught in the event of crimes such as: a home invasion, abduction, or domestic violence situation where speaking may not be an option.

Follow these steps to report an emergency via text messaging: 

- type 911 in the "send to" field

- write this information in a first text: address or location information and emergency situation, then press send

- use text only, no videos or special characters

- refrain from writing slang; be clear as possible

Be prepared to answer any questions and follow instructions from a 911 call taker.

Something for all users to remember is that texting isn't always instantaneous, which means it may take longer to dispatch emergency services.

If you have additional questions, you can contact the Bell County 911 Communications Center at 254-933-5500.