New option to text 911 launches in Massachusetts

When your life is on the line, you can now ask for help without even saying a word.

The option to text 911 is now available to everyone with a cell phone, with all 232 call centers in the state now able to process texts just like a phone call.

"In that situation, it’s such an advantage over what we have right now," Frank Pozniak, executive director of the State 911 department, said. and it benefits everyone in our commonwealth and I can’t stress that enough."

Pozniak says the move is a huge improvement to public safety.

"You never know your situation you’re going to get in," Pozniak said. "If you’re in a domestic violence situation or if you’re in a home invasion situation, somewhere in some situation where you just can’t talk because if you do, you’re even in a worse situation, you have the ability to text a message to your 911 center to get help."

Pozniak said they still stress to make that call first, and to only text if someone can't call.

When sending a message, anyone will want to explain what's happening, be as specific as possible with their location as the GPS won't pick up any exact location, and to add any important details responders will need to know.

The upgrade has already proven effective, just days after the initial program was released in December.

Officers in Randolph were able to save a man's life who texted 911 threatening suicide.

>>RELATED: New text message program helps Randolph Police save man's life

"Thank God he texted that," Randolph Police Detective Kristen Gagnon said. "It was a cry for help, and I'm glad we were able to get there and to help him."

Texting will also make it easier for people who are hearing impaired. Prior to this program, the only option to report something to 911 was through a wire line device.