Beginning today, Verizon Wireless customers can send a text message to 911 from locations in Vermont for emergency help as part of a six-month trial to test the potential of this technology.

From now until Oct. 15, the Williston Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) will accept 911 text messages from Verizon Wireless customers as part of a collaboration among the Vermont Enhanced 911 Board, Verizon Wireless and Intrado.

All text messages to 911 originating from a Verizon Wireless device in Vermont will be routed to the Williston PSAP, which will coordinate with the appropriate local first responders to respond to the emergency. In order to do this, texters should include the location of the emergency in the first message.

According to David Tucker, Executive Director of the Enhanced 911 Board, this trial is intended to examine use of text-to-911 for two types of emergency situations: one experienced by someone who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, or one where the caller might be in additional danger if someone overhears them making a voice call to 911.