GREENUP – 'Call if you can, text if you can't', Text to 911 service is now available in the community, providing both accommodation for those with disabilities and a backup service should the network fail.

Greenup County E-911 has been testing Text to 911 since early last fall, said Greenup E-911 Director Buford Hurley. There were original glitches in the networks, however, most the issues have now been resolved with the exception of one carrier network.

The department released a video Sunday with information on the service and said if you are in an area where this service is not available, you will receive a bounce back message stating the service is not available and you must call 911. If your text is hitting a tower located outside our county you very well could receive a bounce back.

Hurley said that the Greenup County E-911 Text to 911 service is the first texting service in our direct community and that the service has already saved the life of one individual who texted in a suicide threat.

“We are pleased to announce this service is available to our community,” Hurley said. “This service is essential for someone that is deaf, hard of hearing, or has a speech disability. It's also extremely useful in situations where the caller must be quite, or risk being harmed.”

Hurley said now they won't need to depend on a translator or a relay service, they can directly talk to 911 via texting.

Hurley said that the service works just like regular texting on a mobile phone. However, in place of the phone number the individual will text 911 and the messages are received by dispatchers, opening a dialogue between authorities and the person texting. Authorities will then pinpoint the location and once the dialogue is closed, it'll tell the person that the session is closed, letting citizens know when the connection is lost.

Hurley said that this service will run behind the main network as a backup network, providing citizens with a double layer of security in case of an emergency.

“We've used it when we lost our 911 service earlier in the year for a few hours,” Hurley said.

Hurley said that the service is funded through an additional $4,000 a year. The Daily Independent reported last fall that the county obtained grants for the project.

“We're happy to have it, it's a great tool,” Hurley said.

Hurley said that individuals can also call 311 instead of the 10-digit number inside the county for non-emergencies.

For more information on the service visit www.greenupe911.com.