4 major phone carriers providing text-to-911 [Telecom]

This is very interesting. I can see where texting might be necessary to remain quiet while observing a robbery in progress in a store or a burglary in one's home.

Both of my cellphones have texting capability but I haven't a clue how to do it on either phone. I probably should learn how. :-)

formatting link

By WILSON RING May. 19, 2014 7:01 PM EDT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- The four major U.S. wireless phone companies are providing emergency texting 911 service as of this month to any local government that wants it and has the capability to use it, a big step toward moving the nation's emergency dispatch system out of the voice-only technology that dates to the 1960s.

Local governments in 16 states are using it, according to the Federal Communications Commission, and Vermont became the first to offer the technology statewide Monday.

"This is a big deal," Brian Fontes, the chief executive officer of the Virginia-based National Emergency Number Association, said of the four major carriers offering text-to-911.

"It's been a long time -- years, decades -- since our nation's 911 systems have been advanced. They are pretty much still almost 100 percent voice-centric, 1960s technology."

Fontes said that 911 texting is part of a broader push to use technology to enhance the information that can be provided to emergency responders.

"In today's technology world where you and I and other people have smartphones that can do many different things simultaneously, it's important that we have the opportunity to ensure that our nation's 911 centers are equally equipped with technology."

Some professional sports teams allow fans to report unruly behavior inside stadiums and arenas through texting, while law enforcement has started using text messaging during standoff negotiations.

{ story continues at the above URL }


Reply to
Thad Floryan
Loading thread data ...

This sort of ties in. Several years back the I.T. Crowd did an episode where you could email emergency services. It was pretty funny, Moss trying to remember the email address.

Reply to

Except that according to a 5/19/2014 article in Tech Times, the FCC says,"the ability to contact 911 using text is only available on a limited basis in a few markets. For this reason, you should not rely on text to reach 911."

The article says "the situation today is that only 59 out of more than 6,000 emergency communication centers support taking text messages instead of phone calls." They're hoping to substantially increase this number in the next few years.

So, even if the carrier supports it, it's of no value if the local 911 call center does not handle texting.

Tech Times article:

formatting link

FCC statement on text-to-911:

formatting link

Reply to

I can think of other situations where texting 911 might be a significant improvement due to the time needed to get the message across:

- High-(acoustic)-noise environments where the background noise makes it difficult for the other end to hear and understand voice calls. Examples: in a tornado or hurricane. In fires with frequent explosions (e.g. the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, although a significant problem with that is that the first responders weren't trained for this type of emergency). During/after a robbery where really loud alarms are going off and the only person who can shut it off is unavailable. On the side of a high-traffic road.

I once had a tire blow out on a freeway and in order to use my cell phone to call a tow truck (not 911 in this case), I had to climb hills to get away from the freeway noise. I couldn't even tell whether someone answered, much less what they were saying. This delayed the call by about 10 minutes. It could have been a much bigger problem if I was injured and couldn't walk, or trapped in the car.

- It's my understanding that texting gets through better than voice calls in a RF-noisy environment or in a peak-load call situation.

- Texting may avoid long exchanges where the 911 operator wants the street name spelled and the caller has a thick ethnic accent that the operator has trouble understanding.

Robbery in progress, Chase Bank 7th & Main.

and don't get any answers to subsequent texts. Then again, they already need to know how to handle someone's voice call that says the above and then the line goes dead, and calling back doesn't work. Hopefully "Chase Bank 7th & Main" identifies *ONE* bank in the cities covered.

I would hate to try to deliver a baby (with, say, the mother trapped in an elevator) using texted instructions from a doctor relayed by

911 (but it's still better than nothing). I believe this has been successfully done quite a few times using voice calls.
Reply to
Gordon Burditt

It's not like they'll be getting rid of voice 911. It's just an option you can use if you find it more convenient in a particular circumstance.

Many of today's kids and teenagers are very proficient at texting, so when they grow up they're likely to find this a very useful feature. I still use a flipphone with only a numeric keypad, it takes me forever to type even a short message.

Reply to
Barry Margolin

Cabling-Design.com Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.