Now You Can Text 911*
*in select areas, for now
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2014 12:28 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Starting today in select areas, as long as you have mobile phone service through AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or T-Mobile, you can text rather than call 911 in an emergency. The FCC's text-to-911 program will be available across the nation by the end of the year, Gizmodo reports. The text must include your emergency and your location, as locations can't be determined by call centers if you're texting instead of dialing in. The FCC's official recommendation is, "Always contact 911 by making a voice call, if you can."

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Ezekiel 25:17
May 18, 2014 4:19 PM CDT
I've proposed a system mainly for reporting non-emergency situations that still need police scrutiny. It also includes drunk or excessively speeding drivers. I already know how our communications system works in my are and I know when calling 911 is not effective as calling the direct dispatch numbers. Some of the numbers are not public numbers you want people calling. But you don't want to call 911 for an interstate highway crash if you know the direct number for the highway patrol dispatch office that has jurisdiction for where the crash happened. Even in our city, the HP, police, and sheriff have cut up jurisdictions over interstate highways, state highways, county roads, city roads, and private roads. Its complicated and calling 911 may actually slow down a response. So, as much as i can I post in the local newspaper a blog about who to call when. But it would be nice to be able to send a text that goes to all dispatch offices to report drunk or excessive speeding drivers. It would serve two purposes. When you report where you saw the drunk driver, the dispatch office that knows its theirs can immediately put out a broadcast. The dispatch offices who know the driver will end up in their district can also put out the same broadcast. If you call 911, they will try to determine jurisdiction and by the time they connect you, the driver has already entered someone else's jurisdiction and they will hang up on you and you have to call 911 all over again and start from scratch. How this all started was from a guy in a Corvetter who was drunk out of his mind and I stayed behind him for 20 minutes as I was being switched from one comm center to the next. The worst case was when we were traveling to the OU/Texas game and left Norman on a Friday afternoon and followed a drunk driver for 2 hours until we reached the state line where six Texas DPS units were there waiting to meet the driver. We get a call 20 minutes later from the DPS dispatcher and said they also made a major meth bust on that car. This is after the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was unable to get a unit to us on I-35 for two hours. On the day when at least 80,000 OU fans were on I-35 and the Oklahoma HIghway Patrol said they had at least one trooper on I-35 every 10 miles between Norman and Marietta. Well we drove from Norman to Marietta and not a single OHP trooper was available to pull this drunk driver over and Texas DPS by then was more than interested in arresting the guy.
david
May 16, 2014 11:36 AM CDT
Despite others ridicule think about how amazingly valuable this will become as an option when you CANT call. i.e. you've been kidnapped and are in a trunk, You know someone's in your house but you dont want to call and make noise... etc. Silent alarms. Why do you think banks have them?
user99
May 15, 2014 10:47 PM CDT
Who do you text it to?