There’s a brand new way to state your emergency in Minnesota.

As of Tuesday, December 5 there's a new statewide network that makes it possible to send a text to 911. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has been working on the system for three years.

It’s especially useful for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired. According to Minnesota Department of Public Safety Emergency Communication Networks website, here are a few things to know if you need to text 911:

  • Location is not as precise with text as it can be with a wireless voice call.
  • Language translation for non-English speaking callers is not yet available.
  • As with all text messages, 911 messages can take longer to receive, can get out of order or may not be received.
  • A 911 call-taker is unable to hear background noise or obtain cues from voice inflection that are present with voice calls.
  • Text-to-911 is not available when roaming.
  • A text or data plan is required to place a text to 911.
  • If text to 911 is not available, you will receive a message asking you to contact 911 by other means.
  • Do not send your text to 911 to more than one person.
  • Do not text and drive!

Officials say it’s still best to voice call 911. They say “call if you can, text if you can’t.” Dispatchers have had extensive training on the new text system.