HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – Cabell County just released a new system called Text to 911 to keep residents safe.

The new system allows people to simply type “911” in the “to” field and send a message explaining the emergency. That text message then goes to the 911 dispatch center.

Dispatchers say it’s supposed to broaden the ability for people to contact officials in instances where the victim wants or needs to be discreet.

“We can see this being useful in domestic violence situations – where someone might need to call 911 but they don’t want to be heard – God forbid, a school shooting – or the hearing impaired,” explained Nazim Abbess, the Interim Director for Cabell County 911.

He says this would also be beneficial in areas where service is limited because it takes less bars to send a text message.

Some Cabell County residents say they think the new system is a great idea.

“I think it’s a lot quicker, simpler sometimes. Let’s say you’re in a situation that could be dangerous and you’re trying to call the police. Often times calling the police can escalate the situation into a dangerous one,” said Benjamin Reid, a Marshall University student in support of the new system.

“Some people also have anxiety and sometimes it’s hard to talk on the phone and maybe text is just easier for some people,” explained V Pardue, a Cabell County resident.

Right now, the system only works for text messages, so they can’t accept photos or videos.

Dispatchers also ask that people do not send “test” text messages as you’ll spam the system that they want to keep open in case of emergencies.

They say all areas across the county have been tested at this point.