Let's say you need to call 9-1-1 but are unable to verbally communicate your emergency. The Massachusetts State Police and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security have sent out a reminder of the decades old Silent Call Procedure.

Once again, earning praise and generating surprise from many of my listeners who didn't know it was an option, including me, the procedure is simple and smart.

Here's how it works: Call 9-1-1, wait for an answer, then use your phone's keypad to 'talk' to the dispatcher with numbers.

If you need police press 1.

If you need fire press 2.

If you need an ambulance press 3.

The 9-1-1 dispatcher may ask questions that require yes or no answers.

Press 4 for yes.

Press 5 for no.

This method can be used on either touch tone wire line telephones or on any cell phone. Most importantly, the 9-1-1 Silent Call Procedure can get you the help you need, if you are unable to speak or if you need to stay quiet for any reason, like a robbery, domestic violence or a health emergency.