LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — You can now text 911 in Niagara County.

The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that their emergency communications center now has the ability to receive texts to 911 from cell phones in the county. It was part of an upgrade to their phone system.

People in need of emergency assistance can enter the number 911 into the “to” field. The first text should contain the location and type of help needed. Individuals should be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from a dispatcher.

They ask for people to text in simple words and do not use abbreviations, slang or emojis. They say calling is still the best way and should be done if possible and texts should only be used in extreme situations such as home invasions, domestic violence and any other situations where speaking out loud could cause more danger.

Text to 911 is not available if you are roaming. Photos and videos cannot be sent to 911.

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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.