Texting has changed the way people communicate and it has really changed the game for about 55.5 million Americans who have hearing loss, deafness, or speech disabilities. Seven out of ten Americans prefer texting to voice calls. This is where text-to-911 comes into play.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has made a ruling that will make the ability to text 911 available across the nation. Text-to-911 is the ability to send a text message to reach 911 emergency call takers from your mobile phone or device. The FCC, texting providers, and 911 call centers are all working together to make this happen.
The ability to text 911 is crucial for many emergency situations. Here are a few examples of when texting 911 can be used: the wireless carrier signal isn’t strong enough for a call, a medical crisis took away the person’s ability to speak, and texting in a situation where the person needs to hide and be quiet.
Text-to-911 will not be replacing the current voice services so if you prefer to call, a call can still be made. The ability to text 911 is only there to complement current services offered by 911 call centers. If a voice call to 911 is possible, that should still be the first choice. Text-to-911 should be reserved for specific situations.
An announcement later this year will give the date of availability for text-to-911 in North Dakota.
For more information, visit the FCC website.