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Text-to-911: What You Need To Know

It is no surprise that these days, a majority of us rely on our mobile phones.  When emergencies occur, our mobile phones are widely used to call for help. As previously discussed, emergency call centers are on the road to  upgrading their systems.  Major wireless carriers are now allowing text-to-911 mobile services. There are important aspects to know about using this service properly. It is stressed that calling should always be your first choice. Text-to-911 should only be used if you can’t make the call.

Since AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are now allowing text-to-911 capabilities, nearly everyone will have access to this. It’s important that people know how to use this feature.

The procedure follows the basic text message outline: the recipient phone number should be 911, but it is ever important that the body of the text includes the emergency and location so that proper response is delivered. Without this information, dispatchers will not know who to send or where to send them. Another important note is that while text messages can be received by these emergency call centers, photos and videos cannot.

With benefits come drawbacks. While wireless carriers are providing this service, not all areas are equipped to receive text messages yet. If your message was not delivered, you should receive a message informing you that the message was unable to send.

Another problem that may arise is text accuracy. Misspellings and autocorrect blunders can potentially interfere with message clarity, leaving dispatchers confused and unable to help.

Text-to-911 can be a vital tool in saving lives, however, its convenience should not be abused. Text-to-911 should only be used when a call absolutely cannot be made. If people rely on text-to-911 too much, it can cause a delay in services and make it harder for the hearing impaired, who solely depend on TTY, to get through.

Can you think of any other potential problems or benefits of the text-to-911 feature? Do you believe text-to-911 abuse will negatively affect response times or that this service will help keep people safer? Sound off on our social media sites: Tweet us @StarTechTel, post on our Facebook page, or share with us on Google+.

Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding business phones, phone systems, parts and accessories. Visit us online or give us a call at 1-800-564-8045.

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