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911 text messaging coming to the US in 2014

Right now, if you’ve got an emergency, you’ve got to call 911, but come 2014, you’ll be able to text your emergencies into the local police, fire and ambulance if that would work better for you. If you’re mute, or in a hostage situation, if you’re hog tied in the back of someone’s trunk… all good examples of lives that would be saved if you could text rather than call.

A new initiative announced Friday will finally bring the 20-year-old SMS texting technology to emergency centers across the country in the coming years. The top four wireless carriers in the U.S. have agreed to speed up their efforts to support text-to-911 capabilities, making it available by May 15, 2014, according to a statement from the Federal Communications Commission released Friday.

“Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century — and today, we are one step closer towards that vital goal” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowsk. Once the carriers are set up, local emergency response centers will still need the proper equipment, software and training, so the feature won’t be available instantly. However, eventually the carriers and FCC hope to provide 90% of the population with text-to-911 features. The service will not support third-party texting apps or roaming users. In the meantime, the carriers will implement a much-needed alert message warning anyone who sends a text to 911 that their message was not received, and that they should make a phone call instead. That auto-reply system will be up and running by June 30, 2013.

The carriers will handle support for texting until the national next-generation 911 service is completed in the next decade. Most 911 systems are managed locally, but the next-generation 911 project is a national push to update the systems to handle modern communications, including calls over the Internet, images and photos.


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  13. jlota reblogged this from iheartchaos and added:
    Cool stuff.
  14. 420stonerkid reblogged this from iheartchaos
  15. justinbleeper reblogged this from scary69 and added:
    I was asking why this wasn’t possible at least 6 years ago
  16. linkisapapa reblogged this from iheartchaos
  17. daniecor reblogged this from iheartchaos
  18. madapaka-jon reblogged this from iheartchaos and added:
    I’ve been wondering when this would finally come
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