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Verizon To Begin Offering "Text To 911" Service

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the alert-the-authorities dept.

Verizon 194

An anonymous reader writes "In a move that will likely elicit a 'why didn't they implement that sooner?' response, Verizon in the next 12 months will begin implementing a 'text to 911' feature that, as the name implies, will enable users contact 911 operators via text message to report an emergency. The feature will be particularly helpful for the hearing and/or speech impaired, and for folks who find themselves in dangerous situations where making a voice 911 call isn't advisable. Beginning in early 2013, Verizon will start rolling out the feature in various metropolitan areas before progressing to a nationwide rollout soon thereafter. In many respects, this move has been a long time coming, and something the FCC has been championing for a few years."

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194 comments

Indeed! (1, Redundant)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916047)

Why didn't they implement that sooner?

Re:Indeed! (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916105)

because the private sector when it's a monopoly works about as fast as government?

This is "sooner". Later would be 10 years from now probably.

Re:Indeed! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916199)

It's not a monopoly, it's an oligopoly. Your statement still applies, though.

Re:Indeed! (4, Insightful)

TheABomb (180342) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916109)

Because 911 operators need people to communicate with them intelligibly?

Re:Indeed! (5, Funny)

Sancho (17056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916215)

lol popo omw

Re:Indeed! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916227)

I see your point, but if you have ever listened to 911 calls you would see that just because it is vocal does not mean it will be intelligible.

Re:Indeed! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916385)

So how are deaf people to do that without this?

Re:Indeed! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916845)

Historically, the deaf have made use of TTY relay services(funded by some obscure telco fee or other). If you can find a herd of payphones(increasingly difficult these days), you may see one of the fixed-line units lurking in a drawer-style enclosure under one of the phones.

With cell phones, you can use a TTY unit connected to the headset jack of a compliant handset, and I assume that some phones support using the built-in text entry capabilities to communicate with a deaf relay.

(More pragmatically, given the minimal information provided by many 911 callers, and the fact that 911 services include location data, anybody capable of dialing 911 and making some sort of frantic-sounding noise can probably get a fair percentage of the benefits offered...)

Relay services are inappropriate for 9-1-1 calls (3, Informative)

Krischi (61667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917041)

Location accuracy isn't good enough just to make a voice call and hope for the best without further communication. A case like this was recently documented by the Seattle authorities, where the location was off by four blocks, and the disabled victim was only saved by the fact that the parents were able to call 9-1-1 and give the precise location.

Most deaf and hard of hearing people do not use TTYs anymore. Many now use video and captioned telephone relay services, but 9-1-1 calls through relay services suck, to put it mildly. Call routing doesn't work well for these situations, and there are many documented cases of introducing 5-10 minute delays before the call is finally connected to the emergency responders. Compare that to sub-10 second response times for the majority of voice calls.

Re:Indeed! (3, Interesting)

Qwertie (797303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916981)

It seems to me that another important use case is 911 in remote areas. Your reception may not be good enough for a voice call, but it may still be good enough for a text.

Well played Mayans... (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916167)

...and they haven't implemented it yet either!!

Re:Indeed! (2)

Krischi (61667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916867)

The problem is that we have 6200 public safety answering points in the USA under state and local jurisdiction. Many of these don't have the funds to upgrade their equipment to receive SMS, and for a fair number of them it likely is not possible to get the funds anytime soon. That doesn't leave many options. One of the possibilities that has been raised is to implement an SMS to TTY gateway, with all the limitations that this entails.

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Hope Springs Eternal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916099)

Hopefully there won't be any grammar nazis amongst the dispatchers.

Re:Hope Springs Eternal (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916193)

I dno. Les aks'm

Re:Hope Springs Eternal (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916261)

User: theres a hijacker on the plane
Cop: Don't you mean "there's"?
User: thats what your worried about? cant you send help?
Cop: I'm sorry, sir. I can't help you.

Ridiculous (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916787)

User: theres a hijacker on the plane
Cop: Don't you mean "there's"?

Your scenario is absurd. There's no way a cop would be literate enough to recognize grammatical mistakes.

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917061)

Actually, most law enforcement officers are educated these days. Most departments require a minimum of an Associate's and expect a Bachelor's or better.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917119)

They would if they were the grammer police.

Great for reports of traffic accidents (5, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916103)

Now, instead of getting multiple phone calls about a traffic accident, the dispatcher can much more quickly ignore the duplicates.

This is an ideal way of sending information when you want to report that you saw something that may need their attention, but you personally don't need a response.

Re:Great for reports of traffic accidents (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916175)

Now, instead of getting multiple phone calls about a traffic accident, the dispatcher can much more quickly ignore the duplicates.

This is an ideal way of sending information when you want to report that you saw something that may need their attention, but you personally don't need a response.

Yep. Now we can have people texting 911 about accidents caused by texting while driving potentially causing more accidents in the process.

There's an Xzibit reference in there somewhere...

Re:Great for reports of traffic accidents (3, Funny)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916225)

When you're sitting in stopped traffic due to an accident, there's not much harm in texting.

Re:Great for reports of traffic accidents (2)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916781)

But it's still illegal.

Re:Great for reports of traffic accidents (-1, Offtopic)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916951)

So is protecting yourself from a robber in your own home in California.

Re:Great for reports of traffic accidents (1)

no1nose (993082) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917115)

Here in Nevada, they run anti-texting-while-driving commercials about every 15 seconds on television. The car has a custom plate that reads: TXT L8R

Getting details could be a problem (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916201)

This is an ideal way of sending information when you want to report that you saw something that may need their attention, but you personally don't need a response.

Presuming you can get sufficient detail in the message to make it useful. 911 Operators typically ask questions for a reason. I can just see a whole bunch of text like "I saw an accident on I-80" with no further detail in the messages. Then the operator may need to call to find out the details.

Re:Getting details could be a problem (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916273)

This is an ideal way of sending information when you want to report that you saw something that may need their attention, but you personally don't need a response.

Presuming you can get sufficient detail in the message to make it useful. 911 Operators typically ask questions for a reason. I can just see a whole bunch of text like "I saw an accident on I-80" with no further detail in the messages. Then the operator may need to call to find out the details.

You mean 911 operators cant find out exactly where your cellphone is and which direction you are traveling any time they want? Even just through getting a text message? But I saw that on CSI like two years ago...

Re:Getting details could be a problem (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916343)

The standard TAP 3.11, does include som information about your whereabouts, including tower(s?) you are talking to and aproximate location, but no GPS or direction.

Also, in Europe we have a lot of MVNOs (mobile virtual network operator), they are generally somewhere between 5 minutes and 6 hours behind current events depending on their contract with the network provider.

So unless the police has some backdoor installed in the land of the free, the 911 operator needs to ask some questions :-)

tl;dr - CSI isn't real.

Re:Getting details could be a problem (3, Informative)

JoshRosenbaum (841551) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916741)

As mentioned below, I think we have Enhanced 9-1-1 [wikipedia.org] (E911). This allows emergency services to access GPS information on the phone if the user calls 911. I would imagine a text would allow the same thing or could send location info in the text.

Re:Getting details could be a problem (4, Funny)

LMacG (118321) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916803)

Looks like this one didn't get over the ...

(sunglasses)

sar-chasm.

YEAHHHHHHHHH

Re:Getting details could be a problem (1)

TuringCheck (1989202) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916807)

Actually the MVNOs don't have the detailed location information and don't need to. The location is held at the MSCs of the (non-virtual) operator where the subscriber is registered. The MVNO needs only return the MSC - which it has to know else calls won't get through.

On the other hand the emergency calls are usually having LocationInformation identifying the MSC which would speed up things a little by skipping one (for a call) or two (for a SMS) network queries. Some operators are even sending the LocationInformation for regular calls (I don't understand why...)

Re:Getting details could be a problem (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916457)

Yeah, the same CSI that made a Visual Basic interface to track IP addresses which turned out to be "275.3.9.64".

Re:Getting details could be a problem (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916531)

You mean 911 operators cant find out exactly where your cellphone is and which direction you are traveling any time they want? Even just through getting a text message? But I saw that on CSI like two years ago...

That might be the reason why it's taken so long to implement. E911 was mandated after 9/11 which basically means every 911 call gets GPS positioning information. Perhaps 911 texts get the same thing - sending a text via 911 grabs current GPS location and sends it out.

Heck, anothe reason is SMS is only best-effort, and many times can get duplicated or delayed by hours or days. Perhaps 911 texts are also specially handled by the network to ensure immediately delivery.

Re:Getting details could be a problem (1)

Blrfl (46596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916619)

While I appreciate that September 11 is America's new national pastime, the seeds for E911 were planted long before 2001. I was working on systems to locate phones in 1994.

Re:Getting details could be a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916983)

He never said E911 was invented because of 9/11 ONLY that it was "mandated" afterwards... (i.e. the carrier were told they actually had to spend money and implement it)

Re:Getting details could be a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916413)

It would be pretty trivial to have a mass response "Hi, your report of an accident on I-80 was received. To aid emergency crews, please give as much additional information as possible. Thanks." (140 chars!)

Re:Getting details could be a problem (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916909)

or even better "Please run your EPort app and point your devices camera at the incident"

hmm challenge for you coders write a good E-Report app for your platform of choice

Re:Getting details could be a problem (1)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916571)

Presuming you can get sufficient detail in the message to make it useful. 911 Operators typically ask questions for a reason. I can just see a whole bunch of text like "I saw an accident on I-80" with no further detail in the messages. Then the operator may need to call to find out the details.

Don't you mean "I saw an accident on I-8*CRASH*^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcaused a second accident on I-80 by texting and driving"?

Re:Great for reports of traffic accidents (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916243)

I'm waiting to hear about the new type of multi-accident pile-up.
911, what's your emergency?
I was texting 911 about an accident when I had an accident.
911, what's your emergency?
I was texting 911 about an accident caused by the guy texting 911 about an accident when I had an accident.
911, what's your emergency?
I was texting 911 about an accident caused by the guy texting 911 about an accident caused by the guy texting 911 about an accident when I had an accident.

Re:Great for reports of traffic accidents (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916299)

Now, instead of getting multiple phone calls about a traffic accident, the dispatcher can much more quickly ignore the duplicates.

The average person talks faster than he or she can read. What's more... most of the time when I call a traffic accident in, it goes something like this:
"911 dispatch, what's your emergency?"
"Yeah, got a car accident at highway 35 just south of the 17th avenue offramp."
"Yup, we know about it, Thanks."
*click*
Total call time: 15 seconds.

And my eyes don't leave the road while I'm making that call. On the other hand, having a bunch of people texting while on top of an accident scene is a recipe for disaster... gawkerjams frequently cause additional accidents near the site of the original accident, especially during periods of heavy congestion. People distractedly trying to thumb a message to 911 and then reply when they inevitably make a typo or clarification is requested... is just a public safety nightmare. Texting to 911 may have its uses... for example, during a kidnapping or hostage scenario... but on the road, it's universally stupid.

Re:Great for reports of traffic accidents (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916597)

Now, instead of getting multiple phone calls about a traffic accident, the dispatcher can much more quickly ignore the duplicates.

You may want to look into emergency dispatch systems before commenting. First it is not a dispatcher that filters duplicate calls it is the 911 operators. Second, in large systems there can be a large number of 911 operators. The way most systems work is that when a 911 operator takes a call she posts a note on the system for all other operators to see. When a duplicate call comes in it is identified by checking the posted list. It does not matter if the call comes in by test or voive the list still needs to be updated.

This is an ideal way of sending information when you want to report that you saw something that may need their attention, but you personally don't need a response.

Anything important enough to use the 911 system is important enough to to have a conversation about. Do you really want thousands of people sending messages to 911 about trivial matters? Also, as in the case of accidents or assault, the caller can be a valuable witness to the incident. Taking a recording as it is happening can be very important. Duplicates are not an issue as the more witnesses the better. This information is lost by using a single text message. By the way, when 911 operators are talking on the phone they typing the information into the system so the dispatches can pass it along to the responders. They can not type a reply to the texter and keep the system updated at the same time.

Text messages are short. Is the average citizen going to be able to cram all the information needed by 911 into 160 characters. In almost all cases a 911 operator will need more information so a two way conversation is necessary.

Have you ever tried to type on a touch screen when under stress? I have enough trouble when completely calm.

MMS along with SMS? (5, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916129)

They really need to support sending photos.

Re:MMS along with SMS? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916473)

Email > MMS.
I've yet to use MMS (AFAIK, my current cell phone doesn't support them out-of-the-box, and I never bothered configuring them since I don't know anyone who uses them).

Email on the other hand, is pretty dominant on smartphones nowadays.

Re:MMS along with SMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916955)

So what's your plan for routing that email to the nearest 911 call center?

What email address do you send to? How do you get everyone to learn that address?

MMS > Email in this instance, because it simply uses '911' as the recipient.

Re:MMS along with SMS? (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917045)

any camera phone for the last 6-8 years has supported MMS, you probably used it a dozen times with out knowing about...

anyone ever txt you a photo (hint:MMS)
ever part of a group txt from someone with a iPhone? (hint:MMS)
ever send a picture? yup MMS
a lot of older dumb phones actually sent anything over 160 characters as MMS

it all set-up by default on phones...

Re:MMS along with SMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916963)

Instagram it to 911

Fantastic Reliability (5, Interesting)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916159)

Its a good thing SMS is guaranteed realtime with guaranteed delivery. I've never had a text show up hours after it was sent while I'm now standing next to the person who sent it. Yep, its a beautiful service, one I'm happy to put my life in the care of.

Re:Fantastic Reliability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916185)

Ever tried to make a call on AT&T? Fantastic reliability!

Re:Fantastic Reliability (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916401)

It's not a replacement for voice services, dumbass.

Besides, I'm sure your cell phone voice calls are 100% reliable too, correct?

Re:Fantastic Reliability (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916671)

The point you missed is that when one makes a voice call there is immediate feedback on whether or not the call got through. If it didn't go through one tries again. With text messaging, that feedback is not there. There is no way of knowing whether or not the message got through. It does not matter that text is not a replacement for voice. If the text message does not get through but the sender assumes it does the incident will not be responded to and people can die.

Re:Fantastic Reliability (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916789)

During really big emergencies the cell phone networks get clogged, the only thing that you can send out in those circumstances is a text message.

This is looking to supplement current capabilities, not replace them.

Re:Fantastic Reliability (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916467)

Then just make a voice call, dipshit. This is a supplement not a replacement to normall 911.

Re:Fantastic Reliability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917139)

The point you also miss is that the text will be buffered until it can be sent, and it takes a very small amount of free signal to send it. If I recall correctly, a phone call takes a signal of 24 frames per second to make, while a text only takes one frame, period. I'm not telcom guy and I probably butchered that explanation, but the point is that long, long after your cell phone signal has degraded and you can't make a call, a text can get through. There was a case of a hiker who was lost in the un-cell phone friendly hills not far from Silicon Valley. No cell reception. Tried sending a text, then kept hiking. After some time, the phone was able to connect to a tower and sent the message out. This allowed the searchers a much, much better idea of the person's state and location, as they had made no advance indication of where they were going. Instead of looking for them throughout a 100 mile radius, they knew withing a couple miles where to look.

There was another case of a general aviation pilot who lost their radio and in desperation tried their cell phone (no signal) and eventually a text message. That message got through.

This is huge. Is it perfect? No. But more options, especially additional low bandwidth ones, are better than fewer.

OMG (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916183)

help sum dood is trying 2 rob teh bankz rotf

New emergency line response... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916187)

"What is your OMG?"

The real question is: (3, Insightful)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916203)

Why hasn't someone created 911 video chat for mobile phones yet. Such a feature could be life saving. Rather than someone having to explain how bad the wounds are and what is happening, they can show the dispatcher and EMTs. The dispatcher can give better advice to the victim or victim's friend and even have quick videos on how to complete the action. Meanwhile, the EMTs can use the video feed to better figure out the best course of action before they get on site. If nothing else, a face is probably more reassuring than just a voice when you have an emergency.

Re:The real question is: (1)

Krischi (61667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916887)

That will be part of next-generation 9-1-1 services. Check out the NENA i3 specification and standards. But the rollout of next generation 9-1-1 is still 5-10 years in the future at a minimum.

Re:The real question is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917097)

I don't understand why 911 centers don't have official Skype accounts ( or an equivalent service).

Future sample message (4, Funny)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916233)

As suggested by a Facebook friend, Jordan Elliot:

"OMG! thrs lik sum GUY ty 2 brake into my house! DAFUQ!?!? LOL PLS HLP!!!"

Re:Future sample message (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916321)

As suggested by a Facebook friend, Jordan Elliot:

"OMG! thrs lik sum GUY ty 2 brake into my house! DAFUQ!?!? LOL PLS HLP!!!"

Facebook? I thought for sure I saw that posed on Chuck Grassley's twitter feed...

Re:Future sample message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916755)

As suggested by a Facebook friend, Jordan Elliot:

"OMG! thrs lik sum GUY ty 2 brake into my house! DAFUQ!?!? LOL PLS HLP!!!"

No, the phone would autocorrect that to:
"OMG! These LOL sum GUY Ty 2 brake into my joys! Fading!?!? Lola old glow!!!"

How much like E911 will this be? (2)

jcrb (187104) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916237)

Will they be able to make the phone only talk/text to the 911 operator till they release the "line"?

Or perhaps turn on the audio, i.e. you text "I can't talk there is a burglar in my house", and they can turn on the phone/video and listen?

I suppose they could also make it take your picture to cut down on prank calls, otherwise how do they stop people saying "someone texted it in when I put the phone down" (yes they can cover the camera, but you know they will think of the feature)

Or turn on the video so you can show the 911 operator what is happening... which would be a cool feature for voice 911 calls as well.

I for one welcome our new smart phone overlords.

Re:How much like E911 will this be? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916501)

You know, anyone can pick up your phone and make the phone call as well. And it's a bit faster too.

I'd avoid leaving the phone unattended close to people willing to make prank calls to 911 on your behalf, for a start.

Re:How much like E911 will this be? (1)

jcrb (187104) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916541)

You didn't read what I wrote. I wasn't talking about someone other than the phone's owner making prank 911 txts, I was talking about the phone's owner making the prank txt and *claiming* it wasn't them to get out of trouble, because there would be no recording of their voice.

Re:How much like E911 will this be? (1)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916883)

Interesting idea, but that only works if you use a phone with a forward-facing camera on a system that supports simultaneous voice and data transmission. Also, the flash might be an issue from a not-being-seen-by-ax-wielding-lunatic perspective.

How about real-time picture delivery? (2)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916245)

How about a feature that lets you send pictures, videos, and live-camera feed to 911?

Of course you'll need both the phone and the 911 call center to have this ability.

In the interim, how about making a smartphone app that does all of this:
* call your local 911 by voice and/or send a text
* determine if the 911 call center has the ability to receive images or files, and if so, allow the phone user to send them
* determine if the 911 call center has the ability to receive live camera feeds, and if so, allow the phone user to turn the camera on

I can see it now... (1)

NitzJaaron (733621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916263)

"OMG WTF im on fyre omg omg halp! were's my bffs da popo!" I feel terrible for the EMS operators...

Autocorrect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916311)

Help there is a burger in my house!

This is stupid. (5, Interesting)

Theoden (121862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916327)

As a firefighter/aemt, we already get multiple, redundant calls with no information because the caller is "driving by the scene and thought you should know." So now we'll get a text message with no way for the operator to try and pull more information from the caller.

"omg im dying plz help"

So we dispatch two ALS ambulance crews, an engine company and local first responders to find some idiot who broke his toe.

0_o

Re:This is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916449)

"no way for the operator to try and pull more information from the caller"

What? Says who, and why? If the 911 call center supports receiving text messages then there's no logical reason why it shouldn't be able to send responses by text, asking for further information.

Re:This is stupid. (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916551)

If you really are dying, you're probably not going to be able to send text messages very well.

Re:This is stupid. (3, Interesting)

Jahava (946858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916857)

If you really are dying, you're probably not going to be able to send text messages very well.

If you really are dying, you'll probably call 911 instead of text. If you're in a situation where you can't call but can somehow text, then you're probably pretty glad that they enabled texting.

There are plenty of circumstances where texting is advantageous to calling, such as:

  • For the speech/hearing impaired
  • When you're in a situation where an instigator would react negatively to hearing your voice
  • When you want to covertly contact the authorities

Additionaly, FTFA, they can send text and photos, which opens the doors to a whole new type of information that can be sent to 911.

I'm guessing the reason this isn't as easy as enabling text subscriptions for '911' is because they are adding a lot of other features. Texts to 911 will likely also provide the responder with detailed location and subscription information. I suspect they'll also have an infrastructure in place to correlate calls, texts, and photos from the same number together into one session.

This change looks like a huge improvement over the current situation, and I suspect that it will both save and improve many peoples' lives.

It's also the first legitimate use for texting ;)

Re:This is stupid. (1)

Krischi (61667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916925)

Meanwhile, people get hurt or die because they are unable to make a voice call to 9-1-1. The deaf, hard of hearing, and speech impaired are in a situation right now where they effectively have no access to 9-1-1 - almost no one uses TTYs anymore, and on wireless these TTYs do not work well anyway.

Location? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916333)

I know they can approximate your location with tower triangulation, but is there a way to share your continuously updated gps location with 911? What I mean is something like glympse (iphone app) for 911.

(I know, I know - lots of well-founded cynical jokes about the gov't already tracking you....)

Soon... (5, Funny)

wmspider (1333299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916349)

Fire - exclamation mark - fire - exclamation mark - help me - exclamation mark. Looking forward to hearing from you. Yours truly, ...

Re:Soon... (1)

zethreal (982453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916445)

I really wish I had mod points for this...

good idea (2)

AxemRed (755470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916361)

This would be ideal for certain situations where you need to contact the police but where it would be ill-advised to draw attention to yourself by making a phone call.

Re:good idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916561)

This, right here, is the problem with a populace who are educated my movies and TV... "but what if masked henchmen take us captive and threaten to shoot anyone who uses their cell to make a call (text is ok)"... these are definitely the situations you should be preparing for. They are very common it happens everytime you put on a movie! ...There is a real world you left behind long ago, right around the time you got your first cable subscription...

Re:good idea (2)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916853)

Virginia Tech. Columbine. 9/11. There are three examples off the top of my head where people would have been able to text emergency services without revealing their location to a lunatic on a rampage. In the latter example, as a matter of fact, people were using text messages to tell people on the ground about the hijacking. It's not a perfect solution, but it's silly to suggest that it's unrealistic to imagine feasible emergency situations where the ability to contact emergency service providers silently would be beneficial. Shit, any home invasion or robbery would be a perfect time to text from the relative safety of your bedroom rather than alerting intruders to your presence and putting yourself at risk by talking to an operator. I don't get why that's difficult to wrap your head around, frankly.

Put your phone on silent (1)

oddjob1244 (1179491) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916373)

folks who find themselves in dangerous situations

I wonder if those folks will remember to put their phone on silent before sending a text message to 911, in the heat of the moment. Otherwise the reply message might attract some unwanted attention.

is it free? and will it work with txting blocked? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916381)

I have blocked txting as I do not want to pay for incoming span txts

now this 100% free or will you pay $0.10-$0.25 per txt each way?

Re:is it free? and will it work with txting blocke (1, Insightful)

jcrb (187104) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916433)

You need to contact 911 and you are worried about $0.25 txt charges?

Perhaps you aren't clear on the concept of a "true emergency".

Re:is it free? and will it work with txting blocke (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916953)

Voice 911 services typically work even if the phone isn't provisioned for billing(I'm sure there are some models that are so sim-locked that they just won't boot or similar; but US GSM handsets with the SIM pulled can usually still make 911 calls if there is a network available, as can CDMA phones that have had whatever the equivalent de-provisioning done to them), so I would assume that 911 texts would also work without charge, and would cut through any text blocking.

Re:is it free? and will it work with txting blocke (1)

Krischi (61667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916985)

No, it likely won't. The reason it works for voice calls is that the standards are established for "non-service initialized phones." There is no equivalent for SMS, and it is doubtful whether there will be any incentive to make this happen for a technology that already is on its way out.

freelancer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916431)

just as Kathleen explained I can't believe that any one able to get paid $7852 in four weeks on the internet. did you look at this site makecash16.com

Torn (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916481)

On one hand, it is probably a good idea to include a channel for emergency contact for the deaf/mute population, and for those in situations where audible speech is ill-advised, such as a hostage scenario...

THAT SAID, it is far more likely the system is going to be inundated with spam from, for lack of a more accurate descriptor, fucking imbeciles (who think taking 15 minutes to compose a 4 sentence message is somehow more efficient than taking 15 seconds to just call the person), which will cause it to appear useless and thus inevitably be abandoned.

I'm guessing this is one situation in which writing a pre-emptive obituary isn't an over-reaction.

Re:Torn (1)

Krischi (61667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916957)

Black Hawk County in Iowa has been offering text-to-911 for quite a while. The public safety answering point says that call volume has not been a problem for them. In fact, they have been urging more carriers to join this program.

Already possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916579)

If you call 911 in a situation where a conversation is dangerous HANG UP the police will make every attempt to locate you. This is a design feature of the 911 system.

Re:Already possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916865)

Worked well until idiots abused the system. If police show up 4 hours later to check on the 911 hang-up call, you can tell that they aren't prioritizing it very much.

My bill isn't going to go up for this, will it? (1)

BetaDays (2355424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916601)

I'm just wondering if my bill will go up. I already get the mandatory price for E911 so is this new feature going to be included in that E911 cost or will they charge me another fee or raise the existing E911 fee?

Don't get me wrong I think it's a good idea I just want to know what it is going to cost me.

Re:My bill isn't going to go up for this, will it? (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917091)

It will cost you one way or another... It may be indirect, but you can't "do more" and have it be less expensive...unless this is streamlining some process or something.

The IT Crowd (1)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916641)

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am writing to inform you of a fire that has broken out in the basement level of the... No, too formal...

Get Out of the Suburbs, People! (4, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916693)

In rural areas there is often as much "fringe" coverage where SMS works but a voice call can't complete as there is "service area". The best you can do now is to text a bunch of your friends with, "crashed in ditch on river rd, ovrtrned, brkn neck, pls call 911," and hope somebody notices.

This kind of 911 service could effectively double mobile 911 coverage in those places. That's quite sufficient a reason to put up with the whiny problems posted above.

Autocorrect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916713)

How soon before some critical detail, such as where to send the ambulance, gets horribly autocorrected and sends the paramedics to the wrong place?

Would have been useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916717)

This would have been useful when my ex was in a completely unstable state after our breakup and threatened to kill herself. No way would a phone call have worked, since she would have heard it and thrown it at the wall.

After a very, very very long night, I finally got a chance to call the cops, and she spent three days in a mental hospital.

Crazy bitch.

I can haz... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916831)

Police?

teh robber is in teh house

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916897)

I don't know for how long I've wished for the ability to send pictures and video to the police directly. It sure would help them nab a suspect if I was able to send an MMS right to them from the scene of a crime.

Easy info (0)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916941)

Great way for the autorities to collect even more information on everybody, especailly with stupid people flippantly texting everything they see to dispatchers. I'd call the feature worthless, if it wasn't so valutable for the police.

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917019)

People can text them about all those drunk drivers while they drive down the road.

So when will it (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917161)

support Twitter too?

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