911 emergency reporting upgrade coming soon

Text messaging is second nature to us, so why not utilize our addiction for the greater good? In keeping with the times, the FCC will soon “approve” the ability to send a text message to emergency personnel.

Whether it’s a fire, a bank robbery, or a stroke, the idea is that you’ll be able to pick up your cell phone and fire off a quick SMS to 911. Emergency dispatchers will send help your way and, thanks to the beauty of text, there is potentially less ambiguity regarding location.

That’s one advantage, but there’s one other big one: Users won’t be overheard while reporting an emergency. Imagine that you are in a hostage situation and you want to call for help. Calling 911 can get you in trouble with your captors, but secretly texting 911 can be much more stealthy on your part. That is, if we ever ran into that situation.

I’m thinking that the FCC is going to be a minor speedbump in getting such a system implemented compared to the funding concerns that would go along with getting it all set up properly… especially the personnel to respond to the influx of emergencies that would be reported. Making it more anonymous may get more reports, but I would imagine the texter would receive an immediate call back in order to provide more information.

Recently, PowerPhone Inc. received a US patent for their “Integrated Call Handler and E-Mail Systems and Methods.” This will allow “Incident Linked Multimedia” (ILM), meaning photos and video will be able to be transmitted to 911 too. [Mobile Burn]


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