Continuing with their goal of advancing public safety, Verizon Wireless, together with TeleCommunication Systems Inc (Annapolis, Md), will begin an initiative that they enable customers to contact 911 call centers using text messages (SMS).
“Verizon is at the forefront of 911 public-safety innovations, and today’s announcement is another step in making SMS-to-911 service available to those who cannot make a voice call to 911,” said Marjorie Hsu, Verizon Wireless vice president of technology.
Although attempts to contact 911 should be done through calling whenever possible, text messages give people who cannot hear well or are deaf a way to contact 911 in emergency situations. It’s also an option for people who are in situations where talking can lead to further danger.
This service is (will be) available to Verizon Wireless customers who have cellular plans that including text messaging. Verizon is working on plans to extend these capabilities to select public-service answering points, or PSAPs, by early 2013. [Verizon Press Release]