LEXINGTON, Ky --- A new regional initiative is expanding 9-1-1 services in four Kentucky countines to now include text messaging options.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton announced Thursday that the new "text to 9-1-1" service will allow people to send text messages to 9-1-1 call centers in Fayette, Jessamine, Garrard and Lincoln counties. 9-1-1 operators in those counties will also be able to send a text to a 9-1-1 caller during emergency situations.

"It's needed, it's life-saving...not only for the deaf and hard at hearing, but for the domestic violence, autism, speech-impaired. It is an absolute necessity, it's life-saving, it's 9-1-1," explains Virginia Moore, Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Emergency management officials recommend that to use the Texting 9-1-1 service, a user should just enter 911 in the "To" field and push the send button. Texts should contain the location of the emergency and explain the type of help needed.

Photos and videos cannot be sent via the emergency text messaging service. But, all top-tier cell phones including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile support the service.

Lexington's Division of Enhanced 9-1-1 says the emergency text messaging service may expand to other parts of Kentucky in the coming years.