911 Access, Messaging

You can’t just flip the ‘text to 9-1-1’ switch


Have you ever stared at your phone’s signal icon waiting, hoping, praying the text goes through? Have you ever held your phone to the sky and moved around in circles trying to find at least one more bar of service? If the challenge of sending a text message to 9-1-1 were only a matter of getting good coverage that would be one thing. But the reality is far more complicated. There is much more to it than simply flipping the “text to 9-1-1” switch.

Let’s start by agreeing text to 9-1-1 is much more than an interesting – “let’s do it because we can” – technical novelty. The fact is, we, as a nation need it; a point the public safety and telecommunications communities readily recognize. Recent history is littered with examples of where being able to text to 9-1-1 could have saved lives. If you don’t believe me, a quick Google search will enlighten you. So let’s agree we need it. Now what?