The 911 emergency service will begin accepting text messages as well as phone calls on Dec. 16 in the cities of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.

The new text service is intended to help residents who are deaf; who have reduced hearing or speaking challenges; or who cannot make an emergency call safely for any reason.

Anyone texting 911 will be prompted to make a regular phone call if they can. After that, they can describe their emergency and will have to type in their address, according to a press release. The system will not accept photos or videos.

The 911 service is provided by the Chattahoochee River 911 Authority, or ChatComm, a privatized joint program that also serves the city of Johns Creek, where the text option also will be available.

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