A new emergency texting service has been unveiled in Albany and Laramie counties.

Though the new service is expected to help those that are deaf and hard of hearing contact emergency services, it is also expected to help individuals whose lives may be endangered by calling 911. It is recommended, however, that people seeking emergency services call 911 when possible.

The current technology only allows 160 character texts. Texters cannot use emojis, pictures, videos, or other file attachments in their messages.

Texters should also be advised that it will take slightly longer to receive emergency services due to the number of processes involved. When texting, someone must send the message, the network needs to deliver the message, a Telecommunicator has to read and interpret it, and may ask for clarification before sending a reply. Because of the extra time, both counties are participating in the national "Call if you can, text if you can't" campaign.

The service is available through Union Wireless, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint in Albany County. Customers of Union Wireless, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Viaero Wireless can access the service in Laramie County. More carriers are expected to add the service.

For more information about the Albany County emergency texting, please call Steven Morgan at (307) 721-5376. Laramie County residents should call Glen Crumpton at (307) 633-4330 for additional questions or information.