Allegheny County AT&T customers can now text 911 in an emergency

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Cell phone customers with AT&T service in Allegheny County can now text to 911 in an emergency if unable to make a phone call, the county announced today.

AT&T is the fourth provider to offer the service.

In May, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced the service was beginning for Verizon customers. Since then, T-Mobile and Sprint have added the service, too.

The service should be used for emergencies only, and the county has asked that people only use it when calling is not an option. Those who text to 911 should be sure to state their location and the nature of the emergency in their text message. They should also refrain from using texting abbreviations or slang.

Since May, the county has received 153 emergency text message through the service, Alvin Henderson, the head of emergency services for the county, told reporters earlier this week.

He cited a recent text -- from a woman who believed her home was bring broken into -- as an example of a situation where the text to 911 option is appropriate.

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