What is the number that most people would dial in the event of an emergency? 911 would come into mind, and most folks would know by now that they are able to send a SMS to 911 in the event of an emergency, but there are no guarantees that the relevant law enforcement will respond in time. Still, there are strides being made even as you read this, since the full service will eventually be made available across the U.S., although at this point in time, it will remain limited to select areas and companies.
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have come together to support texting 911, while there are plans to pencil in other carriers some time down the road. Emergency call centers are working on implement text messaging in their areas, where these centers will be controlled locally and not by the FCC.
In layman’s terms, mobile companies will be able to forward the texts, but the onus falls on the call centers to actually receive these emergency texts and to dispatch them. It is an exercise that will require tech upgrades as well as training, and all of these will take up time and resources. Text-to-911 does come in handy whenever one is in a dangerous or impossible to speak situation. However, do call whenever you can compared to text, as the inflection of your voice also reveals more about a particular situation than a plain SMS.