Natrona County residents can now contact emergency services through dispatch by texting as well as calling 911, according to a news release from the Casper Police Department on Tuesday.

“This new service could be a life saver for people with speech and hearing disabilities,” said Casper-Natrona County Public Safety Communications Center Manager Lori Jackson.

“Texting could also be crucial when making a phone call may put victims at risk," Jackson said.

The PSCC, a division of the police department, has worked  for more than a year with local officials, organizations and cell phone carriers to make the service available.

Dispatch workers will receive communications as they do voice calls, and they then notify the most appropriate first-responder agency — police, emergency medical services, fire, animal protection and others.

While dispatch still encourages people to call 911 because in most cases information can be shared more efficiently, it also recognizes that may not be feasible.

Callers should use plain English when texting 911, avoid shortened or casual expressions, and not use emojis.

The 24/7, year-round Casper-Natrona County Public Safety Communications Center is the  answering point for all calls received within Natrona County.

It dispatches calls for the Casper Police Department, Casper Fire Department, Natrona County Sheriff’s Office, Mills Police Department, Evansville Police Department, Natrona County Fire District, Wyoming Medical Center (medical service units), Mills Fire Department, Bar Nunn Fire, Evansville Fire, Salt Creek Emergency Services (Midwest/Edgerton), Airport Fire and Rescue, and Casper Mountain Fire Department.

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