What You Need to Know About Texting 911 for Emergencies
Sometimes in an emergency, placing a call for help is out of the question. In 2012, the FCC announced the Text-to-911 program and just last week, the system went live on the four major carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in select parts of the country. When the service rolls out across the country, bringing the ability to text 911 to you and your phone, it could literally be a lifesaver.
Text-to-911 is easy enough to use. You’ll text your emergency, your physical location and then speak to an operator if possible. To note, the operators cannot get the location of your phone from a text like they can with a call so the FCC still strongly suggests making a voice call whenever possible to relay information quickly. Also because the program is still in its infancy. This system can aid people who have speech disabilities and may not have access to a TTY phone, or when speaking on the phone may endanger the caller.
If the system is not available in your area, the FCC has imposed a bounce-back requirement, where carriers must inform the texter that the service is unavailable if they try with a text back that says so. Currently in use in local governments in 16 states with Vermont the first to offer it statewide, the rollout should be complete by the end of 2014.
Check the FCC website for the most up-to-date information.
Do you feel this service is pulling our country into the future? What do you think of being able to text 911? Drop us a line in the comments below!