Groundbreaking news has hit in the world of emergency 911 calls.
Texting, or SMS messaging will soon be offered as another mode of contact when making vital 911 calls for emergency services.
In a time when mobile devices are fast becoming the standard method of communication, this is good news for the public.
911 dispatchers can also benefit from one other way to receive pleas for help in a speedy, efficient manner.
Iowa is one of only a few states that offer the option now. However, the Federal Communications Commission is dedicated to providing this option nationwide in the coming year.
While making such improvements will be costly, there are many benefits that come with texting as another alternative for 911 calls.
Other countries are sure to take notice as well and may consider making modifications for 999 emergency calls in Great Britain or when dialing the 112 emergency number in Europe. The advantages are many.
Texting 911 Calls Could Save More Suicide Victims
When individuals are suicidal, they are in a very unstable condition.
Their emotions are like a roller coaster and they see no way out of the current situation.
They are more likely to send out a plea for help to a 911 emergency dispatcher if they can text.
It’s a quick and easy way to communicate without actually taking the risk of getting on the line.
Likewise, many suicidal people are known to send text messages to say goodbye.
Having the capability to send SMS messages as 911 calls, 999 emergency calls, or when dialing the 112 emergency number, could be helpful to friends and family as they forward texts to get timely aid.
If texting helps someone to live another day, it’s worth it.
Texting May Be the Safe Choice
In some instances, texting may be the safest way to call for emergency services.
A valid case in point was the incidence of the shooting at Virginia Tech. Students attempted to send text messages, but no one received those texts.
In a situation that involves the threat of violence, a text is a perfect way to call for help without anyone hearing that call being made, tipping off would-be attackers.
In states that offer SMS messaging as an option, dispatchers have found it to be especially helpful in cases of domestic violence.
Victims have hidden themselves and sent texts to explain their situation, avoiding further attacks.
The same could hold true for children who are victims of abuse. Being able to send a text could spare them another beating.
A text message might be a lifeline for someone who has been abducted. There are many examples when texting makes sense.
Texting Could Help a Person to Stay Calm
In an emergency situation, there is a tendency to panic.
People are going to be frightened and upset, especially if someone they love is in trouble.
Now that texting has become so common, it is the first way that so many people reach out.
If they have the option of sending a text message, it could actually help them to remain calm as they request assistance.
Dispatchers may find that they are receiving more detailed information as callers are forced to calm down, focus, and type in all of the important details.
Texting is Not A Wide-spread Option at the Present
It is important that the public understands that 911 texting is not available in most states at the present time.
As of September of 2013, wireless providers will be required to send a message referred to as a “bounce back” response in any area where 911 texting is not an option, making it clear that callers need to seek another method of contact.As a rule of thumb, making an actual call is still the preferred method of contact.
Adding texting as another option to call 911 will be costly, a drawback that is a concern when it comes to budgeting.
Many nations find themselves spread thin as it is as they try to meet the demands of running an efficient emergency service.
In addition, 911 dispatchers as a whole prefer to hear that voice on the line, making them better able to understand the condition of the caller and the intensity of emotions.
However, all disadvantages aside, it is important to remember the end goal: getting people the help that they need as quickly as possible in any possible manner.
If texting saves more lives, it’s more important than saving dollars.