The State of Connecticut has launched a new Text-to-911 capability as part of the state\u2019s new Next Generation 9-1-1 Emergency Telecommunications System. The new emergency communications system was announced last Thursday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Text-to-911 provides residents with the ability to send a text message to 9-1-1 from a handheld device in emergency situations when it is either unsafe or they are unable to place a voice call. The system, which is available statewide, is now in effect. \u201cThe safety and security of our residents is a top priority and this is an important innovation that will indubitably save lives,\u201d said Gov. Malloy. \u201cThere are emergency situations where a voice call to 9-1-1 is neither possible nor safe.This technology provides increased protection for residents, including victims of domestic violence and those who are deaf or hard of hearing, by increasing access to emergency responders in such scenarios.\u201d Officials are cautioning residents that voice calls to 9-1-1 remain the best and fastest way to contact emergency services whenever it is feasible to do so. Text-to-911 is only intended to be used when absolutely necessary or needed, which is why the new system\u2019s theme is: Call if you can, text if you can\u2019t. Text-to-911 is specifically intended for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability. \u00a0It is also intended to be used when people are in certain situations that would be unsafe or impractical to place an audible voice call, such as during a home invasion, an act of domestic violence, or active mass shooting, and also during medical emergencies that render a person incapable of speech. Connecticut is one of only several states in the nation to roll out the Text-to-911 feature statewide. \u201cThe Text-to-911 feature is a new alternative to calling 9-1-1 and designed for people who are in danger and are unable to speak,\u201d said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. \u201cResidents in need of assistance now have a new tool to communicate with emergency services to get the help that they need. \u00a0This will certainly help save lives and I\u2019m glad this technology is currently available in Connecticut.\u201d \u201cIt is critical that everyone is able to contact 9-1-1 to summon help in an emergency and that is why Connecticut created Text-to-911 capability,\u201dsaid Commissioner Dora Schriro of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). \u201cThe Text-to-911 feature was added to enhance the public\u2019s safety and wellbeing and it could save lives, especially for those with hearing and speech impairments and anyone in a situation where silence is essential to their safety when summoning help. \u00a0Soon, public service announcements will air on TV and radio showing you how to use this feature, but for additional information any time, go to www.Text911CT.org.\u201d \u201cThis is a great step forward in the communication options for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have another disability that makes texting in an emergency their best or possibly only method to contact emergency services,\u201d said Commissioner Amy Porter of the Department of Rehabilitation Services, which is responsible for promoting equal access and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. \u201cI want to thank the Governor and his administration for the ever present vigilance on behalf of victims of domestic violence,\u201d said Mary-Jane Foster, President and CEO of Hartford\u2019s Interval House, the state\u2019s largest and oldest domestic violence agency. \u00a0\u201cThe ability to use this very important tool in the most dangerous of situations gives a voice to victims when they otherwise would not have one. We know for a fact that the ability to text 9-1-1 will save lives.\u201d \u201cThe new Text-to-911 technology will provide an important lifeline for many victims of domestic violence in Connecticut,\u201d said Karen Jarmoc, CEO of Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence. \u00a0\u201cVictims may find themselves in situations where violence is escalating quickly and it is not safe for them to call the police in front of the person abusing them. This new technology will provide them with a discreet way to seek police help. We thank Governor Malloy and Commissioner Schriro for their leadership.\u201d To use Text-to-911, enter the numbers \u201c911\u201d in the \u201cto\u201d or \u201crecipient\u201d field on a mobile phone or other handheld device. Text a brief message that includes the location of the emergency and what services are needed (police, fire, ambulance). After that, answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call center. Connecticut\u2019s 9-1-1 Emergency Telecommunications System is maintained and operated by DESPP\u2019s Division of Statewide Emergency Telecommunications.To make residents aware of the new capability and educate on the proper uses, DESPP has launched a public education campaign that will include television and radio spots, online and cinema advertising, social media alerts, and outreach to targeted populations. For more information on the Text-to-911 system and to see a demonstration of the capability, visit Text911CT.org.