The Federal Communications Commission has recently decreed that all cellular providers must make it possible for customers in the U.S. to text 911 in the event of an emergency. The hope is that being able to send a text message when help is needed will be a faster and better way to reach out when a phone call is not a possibility.
Texting Can Save Lives
There are some dire situations that require emergency assistance, but picking up the phone and dialing 911 isn’t a possibility. Now that people have the ability to text a message to 911, emergency crews can respond to those texts. In addition, texting provides a good way for people that are mute or deaf or otherwise disabled to ask for help when a special modified device isn’t readily available.
Presumably, the same rules that apply to phoning 911 will apply to texting emergency crews as well. This means that there will be consequences for dialing 911 when an emergency has not happened, which should prevent people from texting the number without good cause. Whether or not emergency crews will be able to track and trace text messages using phone data is unclear, but this new mandate is a step in the right direction.
Texting Emergencies In Other Countries
In some parts of the world, sending a text to a service like 911 has been available for some time now, so the U.S. is behind where this service is concerned. The FCC hopes that offering Americans a way to reach out to emergency crews that’s more in-line with how most people already communicate will provide a solid way for people to reach emergency crews by simply sending a message.
It’s almost amazing to think that texting 911 wasn’t an option before, since this way of getting help makes so much sense. But, at least texting is here for now, and you should be able to use this service in the United States as early as today. Remember, though, that you can’t text 911 falsely, or you will be charged those usual fees. However, it is nice to know that you can now send a text if you do need emergency help, isn’t it?
Will Other Countries Catch Up?
There are no plans to offer a similar service in countries like Canada as of yet. Hopefully, those countries that do not make texting an option will start to consider just how useful this service can be, but that might not happen for some time.
If you have used the 911 service, let me know how it goes - I’m guessing that there will be enough people available to man the service at the moment, but you never know how these things will go off the bat. To use the service, simply open up your phone’s texting app (not a third-party app like WhatsApp), and send the text to 911 - that’s it. From there, someone should respond with the usual emergency questions. Simple, right? Let’s hope other countries catch on soon.