Because nobody likes talking on the phone, the four largest cell phone carriers have agreed to make texting to 911 available by May 15th, 2014. Not gonna lie, I already thought they accepted texts and were just ignoring me. 'SEND AMBULANCE, HOT SAUCE TOO SPICY.'
"Access to 911 must catch up with how consumers communicate in the 21st century -- and today, we are one step closer towards that vital goal" said FCC chairman Julius Genachowsk.
Once the carriers are set up, local emergency response centers will still need the proper equipment, software and training, so the feature won't be available instantly. However, eventually the carriers and FCC hope to provide 90% of the population with text-to-911 features. The service will not support third-party texting apps or roaming users.
In the meantime, the carriers will implement a much-needed alert message warning anyone who sends a text to 911 that their message was not received, and that they should make a phone call instead. That auto-reply system will be up and running by June 30, 2013.
No word if 911 operators will have to take classes in text-speak to understand what the hell people are trying to say, but based on the idiotic text messages I get from my friends I imagine it's probably a good idea.
GW: HLP I FELL OFF THE ROOM
GW: ROOF, BRK EVRYTHING PLZ HELP
911: Please stay calm, what's your address?
GW: 1410 Mockingbird Drive
911: We just dispatched a unit.
GW: But I'm at a friend's place right now
911: And what's the address there?
GW: *cat picture*
That's how I'm gonna die, I'm calling it. No -- texting it. ZING! "No zing." Zero zings, got it.
Thanks to key11 and Denise, who call for help the old fashioned way: HELP! ANYBODY, HELP! CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME? HEEEEEEEEELP!