HALLOWELL, Maine (AP) — The Maine Public Utilities Commission says all 911 dispatch centers in the state now have the capability of accepting texts in addition to calls.

Texting 911 should be used when making a voice call to 911 is not an option, such as when there's an intruder or active shooter and a voice call could be dangerous. It's also useful for people who are deaf or speech impaired. In those instances, people can send a short text message to 911.

Chairman Mark Vannoy said the technology "could be a lifesaver" and that Maine is among the first in the nation to implement this technology.

Officials point out that a voice call is still the best way to summon help in most situations.

More From