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Emergency Texts: The Future of 911

Note to all texting fiends: The emergency services recently enabled by several telecom carriers are not fully engaged! Texts to 911 call centers are not landing in emergency responder’s inboxes and therefore the process of texting emergencies is not a safe bet just yet!

We can already assume the ensuing confusion as immediate cries for help are texted to 911 call centers across the country. Hold still you quick-fingered texters, you’ll have to wait several more years before those texts are answered everywhere, for now – check out this list to see just where 911 texts are accepted.

Service providers are initiating an emergency system using texting as a main form of communication. While emergency centers upgrade their networks, users contacting 911 via text will receive a bounce back message instructing them to either call 911 or, if blind or deaf, use a telecommunications relay service to contact 911.Four major US telecom carriers – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile – recently announced a system that would allow their users to text 911 call centers during emergencies. This latest initiative is misleading to many service customers who can now text public safety answering points under the pretense that their messages will be read and responded to. These messages, however, are not making their way to emergency centers – leaving many misinformed texters in harm’s way.

Across the country, dispatchers and emergency call centers are making upgrades to suit younger generations who text by nature. Centers are upgrading systems on a case-to-case basis – some facilities needing massive technological upgrades, others just needing a reboot of software. Pittsburgh is one of the many cities already accepting emergency text messages. Since Verizon began offering the service on May 14th, the dispatch center has received 57 text messages from callers.

How to send a text to 911 centers

In a real emergency, if you can call – always make the call above any other form of communication! If you are in an area that allows 911 texts, follow these steps: in the number field, enter 911 and in the body of text, state the emergency and location before pressing send.

The Problem with Emergency Texts?

Across all servers there is the possibility of delay. Text messages to a 911 call center are no different. There is always a possibility the message will go astray on the network. 


 

 

 


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