If you are in trouble and afraid to speak on the phone to authorities, you will soon have another option.

Broome County Emergency Services will begin taking text message 911 calls next year.

While verbal communication is still best, texting allows someone to summon help in situations like being home during a break-in or a hostage incident.  Broome Emergency Services Coordinator Jerry Marinich says the system will also be helpful for people who have hearing or speech impairments.

Once the County has the equipment in place, cell phone companies will be notified and have six months to put the system into effect, likely in the spring.

Anyone trying to text 911 before that, however, will have the message sent back to them.