You can text 911 - What you need to know

A 911 text message shared by a Department of Public Safety in Alpharetta, Georgia is going viral on Facebook.

The screenshot, which has been shared more than 14,000 times, shows an actual exchange using text-to-911. A deaf bystander reported via text that two young children were left in a car outside a mall.

It's a feature that many people say they aren't even aware exists.

Alpharetta Department of Public Safety says in the post that it was an early adopter of the text-to-911 program, which is still not widely used. But it is available in Houston.



According to the Administration Manager at the Houston Emergency Center (HEC), Joe Laud, the program is preferred to be used for the deaf and mute community.

Though the feature can be used for extreme emergencies, it can be a valuable tool for situations that are "life-threatening and where the suspect may be present."

But Laud wants to emphasize that if you are in an emergency and are able to talk, always call 911.

Calling 911 is the best, fastest and most efficient option when in an emergency.