Photo illustration

Police dispatchers in Concord can now receive 911 text messages from cell phone users who may not be able to speak out loud due to medical distress or safety concerns.

The new Text-to-911 service is especially intended for people who are voice or hearing impaired or those who have been rendered unable to speak due to the circumstances of a medical problem.

It could also help crime victims in abductions, home invasions or domestic assaults who could face increased risk if the suspect hears their conversation with dispatch.

Anyone in Concord texting 911 is encouraged to provide an exact location, keep the message brief and concise and avoid emojis or photography. It may also be smart to put the phone on silent, to avoid alerting nearby suspects with a ringtone.

Keep in mind that traditional voice calls are the fastest way to reach emergency dispatchers, and not all East Bay jurisdictions offer Text-to-911 service.