The FCC has proposed some major changes to the 911 emergency service as it was stressed that the technological limitations of 911 can have tragic, real-world consequences. The idea is to bring the 911 service into the modern era by allowing folks to send text messages to the service, instead of having to place a phone call. The idea of video calling has also been considered, since video streaming has become increasingly common. The benefit of such a new system is that folks can quietly notify 911 of something dangerous happening without bringing any attention to themselves. It was said that the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech could have been handled faster as students and witnesses could have easily sent text messages and got a response quicker. The FCC is also considering plans to allow automated pinging of 911 by sensors, including chemical detections sensors, alarm systems, medical devices and systems like On-Star in automobiles.
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