MINQUADALE, Del. (AP) — Delaware's 911 centers have begun accepting text messages, allowing those with hearing and speech disabilities or those in situations where it's not safe to place a voice call to access emergency help.

The News Journal reports that Gov. John Carney demonstrated how to use the new function on Monday in Minquadale, calling it "a lifesaving technology."

Guidelines advise users to text 911 with the location of the emergency and the type of service needed. Operators can respond with questions and instructions. Photos and videos are not yet supported.

The newspaper reports that real-time voice calls are still the fastest way to contact 911.

Still, Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Sue Ryan praised the service. Although there were 22,000 domestic violence reports made last year, many more went unreported.

___

Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com