A new service in North Idaho will help those who can't safely call 911 in an emergency.
The service also will assist those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability.
Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, Post Falls Police, Bonner County and Shoshone County dispatch centers all can receive 911 text messages from citizens with text or data plans from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Comcast.
Dialing 911 in an emergency is still the preferred way to ask for help. A 911 text might take longer than a voice call, so citizens are urged to "call if you can, text if you can't."
People should text 911:
*If they're deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability
*If the caller is unable to speak due to a medical issue or other condition
*If speaking out loud would put the caller in danger, as in a home invasion, abduction, domestic violence incident or active-shooter scenario