The Federal Communications Commission announced that the four largest U.S. wireless companies—AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon—have voluntarily committed to make text-to-911 available by May 15, 2014. This capability is currently available on a limited basis to a few locations. However, this new technology can help provide lifesaving assistance in situations where a person with hearing or speech disability is unable to make a voice call, where voice networks are down, or where a 911 voice call could endanger the caller.
The FCC reported that, “It has already saved lives and thwarted crimes, including preventing a suicide in Vermont and, in Iowa, protecting women and children from abuse who were silently able to text for help.”
With the development of this new technology, the FCC believes there will be a need for consumer education regarding when you should use the tex-to-911 feature. It should not be used when a voice call is an option. The FCC has developed a consumer guide on text-to-911, which you can view here.