Though in past decades, those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability have been able to contact 911 through telecommunications devices, texting is making its way into availability so those who have hearing disabilities or other problems using regular voice calls so they can get in touch with 911 easier.
Is it nationwide?
Though 911 texting has been available to the deaf in some areas of the U.S., it has only been since the end of 2014 that it is becoming more available.
Some markets that do have this capability still prefer and recommend traditional voice calls to 911. As of the end of 2014, wireless networks must be capable of allowing customers to send 911 text messages to PSAP (Public Safety Answering Points) centers that request them.
If you are someone who is interested in text to 911, you should make sure it’s available in your area before relying on it.
According to the FCC, The Commission recently took steps to make text-to-911 more widely available in the future. On Aug. 8, 2014, the Commission adopted an order that will require all wireless carriers and other text messaging providers that enable consumers to send text messages to and from U.S. phone numbers to deliver emergency texts to PSAPs that request them. Wireless carriers and other text messaging providers that are not already supporting text-to-911 must be capable of doing so by the end of 2014, and must respond to PSAP requests to deliver text-to-911 by June 30, 2015, or six months from the date of the PSAP’s request, whichever is later.
When will it really be nationwide?
The FCC is currently encouraging PSAPs to implement text to 911 calls.
The expectations are that soon it will be more available in more areas reaching across the country.
As the following article shows, it shouldn’t be long beforeis a viable option for connecting with 911 in most areas.
There is more cost involved, which will have to be addressed, but the benefits are high.
Why it is important to have 911 texting?
Not only is it important for 911 texting to be available to those with speech and hearing impairments, but it also has other benefits.
In some dangerous situations, a text would be safer to send than speaking out loud, such as burglaries or domestic violence, and in other conditions, such as storms and other weather events, texts can get through when voice calls can’t. Also, if pictures can be sent via text it will be helpful as well.
It shouldn’t be a substitute for 911 calls when the caller is able to speak, though.
The 911 dispatcher can learn a lot from the tone of voice of the speaker in regards to urgency and also from the background noise on the phone.
With this technology, people can have better opportunities to reach help in case of emergency.
It appears it is falling into place and before too long these capabilities will be put into place nationwide.
About the Author: Heather Legg is a writer who covers a variety of topics including social media, small business and more.