We’ve been hearing about text-to-911 functionality for some time now, with the FCC announcing plans to begin accepting 911 text and photo messages nearly three years ago. Starting today, wireless subscribers in select U.S. cities should be able to send texts to 911.
AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon previously agreed to implement support for text-to-911 by today, May 15. However, for text-to-911 to work, 911 call centers must also support the service.
An FCC document (PDF link) shows that text-to-911 is currently only enabled in a handful of markets across the U.S. Those markets are located in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
The FCC notes that even if you do live in a part of the country where text-to-911 is supported, you should still attempt to make a voice call to 911 before sending a text. That said, it’s great to see text-to-911 starting to gain some real traction. In some cases, making a voice call to 911 isn’t safe or even possible at all, and so sending a text or photo message provides people in those situations with another way to get help.
For a detailed list of locations where text-to-911 is supported, hit up this FCC PDF right here.