MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Starting Tuesday, there’s a new way to get emergency help in Minnesota.

A new statewide network makes it possible to send a text to 911. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has been working on the system for three years.

It’s especially useful for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired. And there are other reasons:

“There are certain emergencies, if you speak, it will put you in more harm. Some of those examples are home invasions, kidnapping, violent domestics. That’s why this new statewide program is so important,” Bob Hawkins with the Department of Public Safety said.

Officials say it’s still best to voice call 911. They say “call if you can, text if you can’t.” Dispatchers have had extensive training on the new text system.

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