LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Columbiana County’s Emergency Management has activated a Text 911 system.

Coordinator Brian Rutledge said it gives people another way to reach emergency services. He said the most important thing is to keep your text simple. Don’t send pictures or videos.

“It should be clear, concise you know straight language no emojis no slang, short abbreviations just clear concise so that it’s easily understood,” he said.

The 911 texting system has already been used twice. One was an accident. The second was a person with unwelcomed guests who slipped away from them and texted police, and it worked perfectly.

That’s the main reason for putting 911 texting in place. It helps someone who can reach a phone but maybe can’t talk. They can still alert police. And it would’ve been a help in the Parkland or Virginia Tech shootings.

“911 systems were over overrun by 911 calls and had texting been in place then, you know, more of those would have gotten through to the 911 centers,” Rutledge said.

Columbiana County joined with five other counties on a pilot project and got federal funding, which absorbed all but $13,000.

911 texting also helps the hearing or speech impaired.

It’s just getting started, but remember, dispatchers can absorb more information over the phone. Rutledge said the primary method is to call if you can.

“If you can’t call then text,” he said.

911 texting works in all areas of Columbiana County, with all carriers.

Mahoning and Trumbull counties don’t have 911 texting yet. If you tried it, you would get a return text saying it’s not available yet, make a call. 911 texting is available in Mercer County.