“Call if you can; text if you can’t.” That is the new slogan the Lake Havasu City Police Department and the Federal Communications Commission would like to share with the community.

Text-to-9-1-1 is the ability to send a text message to reach 9-1-1 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device. Initiated on April 5, this new service is available to Lake Havasu City residents in emergency situations where it may be too dangerous to make a voice call or for those with a hearing or speech impairment in need of emergency help.

This is a web-based service also being used by several California law enforcement agencies that border the Colorado River and surrounding area, making the system compatible when transferring calls to the proper jurisdiction. The Lake Havasu City Police Department is the first law enforcement agency in Arizona to offer the service.

This is another tool the community can use to communicate with the police department in the event of an emergency.

The four major wireless carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have made the technology available to dispatch call centers and it is paid for through the 9-1-1 surcharge tax collected by the carriers. A text or data plan is required to place a text-to-9-1-1 call.

Text messages may take longer to send or receive, depending on the coverage area. If the caller is roaming or the service is unavailable, the caller will receive a bounce back message stating, “Make a voice call to 911 for help; text-to-9-1-1 is not available.”

Text-to-9-1-1 should only be used in an emergency and only if a voice call cannot be made. If you are unsure if your carrier provides the text-to-9-1-1 service, contact your wireless carrier.