Verizon has announced its plans to lead the text-to-911 initiative here in the US. Starting early 2013, Verizon customers will be able to send 911 SMS texts to emergency call centers. This new way of communicating with 911 call centers is a great step forward in public safety and allows for those in need to relay information in cases when calling or talking are difficult.
Verizon will be working with TeleCommunication Systems Inc., of Annapolis, Md., to provide this new system and hopefully this will encourage other U.S. carriers to move forward with this potentially life saving system.
“Verizon is at the forefront of 911 public-safety innovations, and today’s announcement is another step in making SMS-to-911 service available to those who cannot make a voice call to 911,” said Marjorie Hsu, Verizon Wireless vice president of technology. “Our company is continuing its long-standing commitment to address the needs of public safety and our customers by offering another way to get help in an emergency by using wireless technology.”
Other countries such as Canada, have also been experimenting with the texting-to-911 service in hopes of addressing the difficulties that deaf people and those with speech impediments have when trying to communicate with 911 services. It’s a great addition to our current system and could also expand to provide additional information to emergency responders, such as GPS, photos, and even video.
We’ve been sharing our lives and information almost instantly for quite some time over various social networks, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to share this same kind of information with emergency responders in times of distress. I’m glad to see emergency services catching up with technology, considering public safety should be more important than checking into a coffee shop in hopes of becoming an imaginary mayor.