911 call center in Iowa is first in country to respond to text messages
Right at this moment, only subscribers in Black Hawk County to i wireless, a local carrier affiliated with T-Mobile, can use this service. Because text messages will not give a location of origin to those at 911 call centers, a reply text is sometimes necessary asking for the city or zip code where the emergency is happening. If the answer is a location within the county, the text message goes through to an operator who can send and receive text messages. Otherwise, the person with the emergency is sent a text urging him to call 911.
Intrado is also working with other call centers on upgrading to accept text messages. In the future, the company says that photos and videos will be accepted to summon help and that pictures or video can help responders know what to expect when responding to a call, and can also help identify possible suspects in a crime. Already there have been some cases in the U.S. where a kidnap victim was able to secretly text a message to summon help. The whole idea behind texting emergency calls is to speed up response time.
source: AP via EngadgetMobile
1. EraserXIV (Posts: 37; Member since: 16 Jul 2009)
makes sense for situations where talking might not be possible or may be dangerous (kidnapping, hostage situation, etc)
3. xmguy (Posts: 38; Member since: 12 Feb 2009)
This is also an option if you need help but your phone battery is low. A text message might get through where a phone call might not.
4. BlackberryUser (Posts: 609; Member since: 26 Jun 2009)
I think this is a great idea and will hopefully drive new advancements in cell phone technology. I could easily see cell phone manufacturers putting the cell phone in a 911 mode for location if a text message is sent to 911. This would eleviate the location issues they're currently facing. A text is not only good for emergency situations where a phone call can't be made, but also for non-emergency situations where you may want to contact the police. This would not tie up the phone lines, but allow you to report an issue on the road. (IE: "Car broke down on city street blocking traffic") I hope to see this technology advance further.