ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland board has approved a $2.4 million contract to enable people to request emergency help with text messages to 911.

The Board of Public Works approved the contract on Wednesday.

A text to 911 would support 160 characters, but not photos or video.

Frederick County was chosen for a 2015 pilot program for 911 text messages because it is the location for the Maryland School for the Deaf. The contract approved Wednesday will extend the service to the rest of the state.

Counties will have a choice on whether to join the system. Local jurisdictions could have systems operating as soon as May or June.

The Federal Communications Commission estimates that more than 70 percent of all 911 calls now come from people using cellular phones.

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