Need emergency help? — Call 911.
Want to text instead? — You can’t.
But that doesn’t seem right in this age of digital communication. In fact, today’s youngest tech generation takes pride in never “calling”. Texting is where it’s at.
The FCC has been pushing for this since 2010. And England has had this for a few years (although it is geared toward people who can’t use a phone due to hearing or speech problems. In the US, Verizon has conducted trials in Vermont and North Carolina this year and Sprint just started a test in Vermont. Canada tried this out in several locations early in 2012.
While it may seem most useful to those with special hearing or speech needs, text or other mobile options are sometimes all people have when their phone battery is low or in other emergencies. But there’s a generational effect, and one that could increasingly cross all generations, as shown by the 2009 incident in Australia where two girls updated a Facebook page about being trapped in a storm drain as well as examples of people Tweeting for help instead of calling. In a panic, it’s quite possible people will increasingly turn to what they use most – texting – instead of attempting to call.
Text-to-911 is just one example of the many improvements the 911 system continues to make. Click here for more.