You Can Now Text 911 in the US in Case of Emergency
Here at Wind8Apps we’re focused on bringing you the latest news on Windows 8 apps and everything Microsoft, but we also share important tech news that may impact our readers, from time to time. And now we’re talking about the ability to text 911 in case of emergency.
After it was long rumored and discussed about, the ability to text 911 in case of emergency is slowly rolling out in the United States to subscribers of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. For the time being, the service is available in areas of Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. According to the FCC, the service will gradually roll out to more areas and by the end of this year, virtually anyone with a cellphone and enough service will be able to make use of it. Which means that all carriers will support it.
Text-to-911 starts rolling out in the US
The ability to text 911 in case of emergencies is much needed, as there can be many situations where you can’t reach out to your phone to make a call. The service will prove especially useful for those who have a speech disability or are mute/deaf. However, when texting 911 in case of an emergency, you will have to include your full name and address, as well as the description of the crime scene, if there’s one. You won’t be able to include photos and videos, which could help get a better picture of what’s your current situation. Here’s what FCC says on its official website:
In a Policy Statement adopted January 30, 2014, the Commission expressed its belief that every wireless carrier and every provider that enables a consumer to send text messages to telephone numbers should support text-to-911 capabilities.
In an agreement with NENA and APCO, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have voluntarily committed to provide text-to-911 service by May 15, 2014 in all areas served by their networks where a 911 call center is prepared to receive texts.
The Commission encourages wireless providers and interconnected text providers that are not parties to the Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement to work with the public safety community to develop similar commitments to support text-to-911 in a timely manner, so that all consumers will be assured access to text-to-911 regardless of what text provider they choose. The Commission has also proposed rules that would require all covered text providers to support text-to-911 by December 31, 2014.
The Commission has encouraged 911 call centers to begin accepting texts as text providers develop text-to-911 capability. It is up to each 911 call center to decide whether and when to begin accepting texts. Some call centers have started to accept text messages already. We expect that others will do so and that text-to-911 will become available in more areas over time.
Nevertheless, even where text-to-911 is available, consumers should continue to contact 911 by making a voice call if they can, and use text only if voice is not a feasible or safe option.
So, by early 2015, the service will be available in the entire country, so it could be just a matter of time until it gets deployed in other parts of the world, such as the European Union.
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