Clarendon County, SC (WLTX) - Clarendon County just launched a new system allowing people to text 911 for emergencies.

“Just like you talking to a friend, you text what you need, and it automatically comes up on our screen just like a 911 call would come in,” Clarendon County 911 Emergency Dispatcher Director Bertia Cartia explained.

Folks in Clarendon County can just text their emergency to 911. The text message will appear on a dispatcher’s screen and the potential victim and the dispatcher can text back and forth.

The system is especially useful for victims hiding from a robber during a break in, people with hearing and speaking disabilities and domestic violence incidents.

Although the new version is an option, officials much rather you call.

“A lot of times when it's a domestic or you don't quite know where you at. We keep you on the line until an officer or whoever arrives to make sure you get what you need,” Carter explained. “So if we have you on a telephone call, we could just sit with you on that call.”

Clarendon County Emergency Management received an entirely new 911 system including the texting feature.

The total price tag was $400,000. Officials said the state 911 office paid for 80 percent of the new system.

The Clarendon County 911 Center receives about 40,000 calls per year.

You can also text 911 with an emergency in Newberry and Kershaw counties.