Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced plans for a "text to 911" system in the state Wednesday.
The new system will allow residents to send messages of up to 160 characters to emergency responders, the governor's office said in a statement, but no photos or video.
"This new technology is a vital public safety tool that could potentially help save the lives of citizens who find themselves in an emergency situation," Hogan said in a statement. "I want to commend the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their hard work to implement this system for all Marylanders."
More than 70 percent all 911 calls come from cellphones, according to Federal Communications Commission data cited by the governor's office. In 2015, the state started a pilot 911 texting program at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick County.
"We are thrilled to welcome this public safety tool for Maryland's 1.2 million deaf and hard of hearing residents, those with a speech impairment, and anyone in an emergency situation where a voice call would be dangerous or impossible," Kelby Brick, director for the Governor's Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, said in a statement.
The contract to install the technology begins March 1, officials said, and counties could make it available to the public within three months.