McLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Starting next week, there will be a new way to contact emergency personnel in McLean County.

Metcom, the county’s emergency call center, will be available via text starting next Monday, Sept 19.

Residents that own a cellphone and have a texting plan will be able to text for help if they’re unable to call. Executive Director of McLean County 911 Rhonda Flegel said this resource is ideal for people that are hard of hearing, deaf or if someone is in a situation where it’s unsafe to call.

Flegel said other areas in the state have used this technology but it took a few years to get to McLean County.

“You just put 911 in the characters of who you’re texting to and you start a simple conversation saying your emergency, what it is and your location. And then the call taker will answer those texts, talk with you and ask you questions they need to ask,” Flegel said.

Flegel said it’s still safest and best to call 911 if you’re in need of emergency assistance.

The text option is available for county and Town of Normal emergencies as well as the City of Bloomington’s call center.