You can now text to 911 in an emergency

Texting 911

Starting today, you'll be able to send a text message to 911 in an emergency situation. The service will be supported by AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile. Text 911 is only available in a small set of select cities to start, however it will be rolled out everywhere by the end of 2014.

Using the service is easy, just send a new text message to 911 with the details of your emergency — though you'll need to remember to send your location as pinning things down over text isn't the same as it is with phone calls. You'll also be able to send a photo along with your message, though that feature isn't supported across the board just yet.

You can read more on the Text-to-911 service at the FCC's website.

Source: FCC; Via: Lifehacker


Reader comments

You can now text to 911 in an emergency


هههههههه انا كمان من الاردن بس ما كنت اعرف انو منقدر نبعت لشرطه SMS LOL.

هاهاها نحنا من متى عنا مسجات للشرطة ؟؟ والله ما كنت عارف

This sounds more like the Mormons - they usually wear white shirts with black ties and carry a book (Book of Mormon or a KJV).

JW attire is not limited to white shirts/black ties and they usually carry a lot more than one book - more like bookbag filled with literature. The message is different too - it is not "have you met a guy."

But I guess the point was any religious group coming to the door.

But "couple" usually means husband and wife, or similar pairings. And notice it mentions only one tie. Definitely the JWs. And the "guy" is is obviously Jehovah.

White shirts (plural), pants. Both these are for men (I've never seen Mormon or JW women wearing pants). JWs NEVER refer to Jehovah as a "guy".

But, again, the text was undoubtedly a jab refering to any religious group coming to the door.

Well, the citizen reporting the suspicious activity doesn't know they are religious. WE assume that "a book" = "The Bible" and the "the guy" = "Jesus/Jehova".  It the dude is clueless about religion in general, he wouldn't recall the name, he'd just say "they were asking if I met some guy".    Wow...jokes aren't funny when you have to explain them! ha ha

The idea is awesome especially if your in a situation where you can't speak but, the amount of info you need to send could be an issue in situations where you don't have time to txt out a bunch of info.

I'm sure OS's or apps will make it easier soon. So, after you type in your emergency like "OMG I just broke a nail" maybe there's a button that you can press that will get your location from GPS, for example.

Mormon joke, how original. It would have been much funnier if you said there were some black guys in your backyard. That would have created a stir. :)

Reality is that the mindset to be a criminal is no respector of persons or color of one's skin. The person that chose the color of their skin in their mother's womb...please speak up or forever hold your peace....

Hmmm...*hears crickets*...

Shut up crickets!!!!....You didn't choose your color either!!!!

And while I agree whole heartedly with that statement, I believe the comment was referencing stereotypes. Whether they be of Mormons or dark skinned males. I simply was making the point that not all dark people are out to get in your back yard to do something illegal. Just like all paler hued individuals from the south are not red-necks!

I think the comment was referencing a fictional person who was unaware of the stereotype.  He only knew that there were people asking about "some guy".  The name eluded his memory because he has no frame of reference for whom they were referring.  If he had written "2 black guys in my backyard", that reference would have been specific to race and also communicated a bias.  He didn't say "Two Mormons", so the comparison falls short.  WE assume that "the book" = bible and "a guy" = Jesus based on our own experience.    I mean it wasn't THAT funny of a joke, but it's less funny when explained. :/


My response is one of ignorance and response to a comment of ignorance. Kwambe5 caught it.

This needs to be everywhere....not just the states. Not sure why it isn't already a thing, can't always call in certain emergencies.

All OS should have a special SMS format/app/mode for this, that automatically attaches your location. Even better, you should be able to give 911 permission to track your position with the hit of a button, until you turn it off yourself. Allong with it, it could activate some kind of 'hearing mode', so that 911 can listen to all that is happening to you, without you having to worry that sound comes in from their end. Also, all sounds should be disabled OS-wide when in silent emergency mode.

Btw, I live in The Netherlands, and of course I want this for 112 as well.

Emergency mode could even assist you with steps to follow/things to check, in different kinds of situations. Like a walkthrough.

So many ideas.. yet nobody does shit with the possibillities of today. Only fart apps and other bs apps, but the real innovation on things that matter? Nope.

Because having that much of surveillance is scary, I still want some privacy. And I don't want the cops to know when I'm doing 20 km/h over the speed limit.

I just explained that you must activate it yourself, and you should be able to turn it off yourself. I bet you would like this kind of surveillance when you were laying kidnapped in the back of a truck...

If you would be able to activate it yourself, then FBI, NSA and anyone else interested in you would be able to remote activate it. People will not stand for this, even if it means people will be kidnapped.

About damn time. I think he had text messaging since 94 and they just now figured out how to set this up.

Again WPC forgets it has a global audience in its arrogant writing.

"You can now text to 911 in an emergency"

In the US.

"Deal of the Day"

In the US.


It goes both ways bro.  I'm sick of seeing headlines for stories that turn out to only apply to India.  Oh well.

Yeah but at least it's in the headline "Lumia 630 goes on sale in India" etc.

This is just the arrogant assumption that the readers will know what 911 means because they are only considering the US audience.

I'm fine with multi-national stuff and I appreciate WPC is a US site with a majority of US readers. But WPC also caters for the RoW and should caveat and headline stuff accordingly.

At least if you see a country specific article you can ignore it if you choose.

Ok, so where in the headline "Dixons and Carphone Warehouse announce merger" does it identify the story as being UK-specific?  Oh right, you just have to know those are British companies.

Isn't this a US based site?  Start a site in your own country if you're so upset.  A lot of US based sites don't report on anything outside of the US.  So perhaps you should appreciate that they comment on anything that's not US based? 

At least for dialing 911 there's no need for a SIM. I wonder if the same thing will be true for texting 911

I wish they would just create an app where we could be in contact instantly with someone that would have access to our location and camera at the push of a button.

they did change the photo, as someone pointed out the first message was a reference to Mormons...

I wonder if someone took "offense".    I really don't think it was necessary to take the other photo down.

That's helpful if you locked up yourself hiding from a killer, and you don't want to make any noise to prevent the killer, all you need is to tap xD, but hassle to type your exact location xD

If they accept MMS messages (pictures), this could be very useful!  After sending via MMS, do pictures retain metadata, like GPS coordinates, date/time taken, etc.?

Finally I might live through an emergency situation. I thought my tele-phobia would be the death of me in these situations. Seriously does no one else get panic attacks at the thought of making a phone call?

Oh man, you know those punk kids that call a swat team to people's home? I can imagine some punk kids will borrow a friend's phone and text 911 as a prank.

Still, I think the pros may outweigh the potential cons.

They definitely need a automatic location tagging for this.  It would be very helpful for when you're lost and can't get a call through.  Would probably help cut down on douchebags thinking that can prank text 911 and get away with it.  I'm sure they could track down repeat offendors with current mthods, but location tagging would make it much easier to drag them off to a dungeon for jeopardizing other people.