BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Contacting 911 dispatchers during an emergency will be easier in Broome County: Cell phone users can now text 911.

The goal is to offer an option when callers need to stay quiet, like an active shooter situation.

Texting is also an option for someone who might be hearing impaired or cannot speak due to injury.

Once texts are sent, first responders will be on their way, without the potential abuser knowing 911 has been contacted.

"It's obviously the wave of the future. 911 is evolving to that and it's something that we need to embrace, that there are other options for residents to get in touch with 911," said Mike Ponticello, Broome County Emergency Services director.

First responders say if you're able to, calling 911 is still the most effective way to get information to dispatchers.