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911-to-text-911-CASPER-Alerts-Warnings-FCCBy Chuck Freels

Things You Should Know

I am sure by now you have heard that you can now text your emergency to 911.  While this feature has admirable aspirations in the situation that it can be used for any emergency;  But it is especially good in emergencies where you cannot speak. It’s also helpful for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech impediment.  So the concept is a worthy one.  However within the huge splash they have made about this, I think it is extremely important to know the facts. 

Although this feature has been in the works since 2012, presently, the only cell phone carriers that offer this to their customers are AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile.  The concept is still the same for typical texting, with this, you text 911, and give them the emergency situation information you would normally provide in an emergency situation, and they should respond accordingly. 

Nevertheless there is an important piece of information you will need to provide as well – you need to provide the address of your location.  Typically, from a phone call, they can pinpoint where you are, this is not the case with a text.  I find this part scary since I can foresee many people will either leave that out of their text, or not even know where they are so they can provide it.

The other thing I feel that they have caused many people to assume, is that this new ‘Text-To-911’ is available everywhere throughout the United States, but that is far from the case.  If you CLICK HERE, you will see that there are just a handful of areas that offer this new feature.  The participating areas are going to continue to expand, however right now it is a rather small percentage in comparison to the entire United States.

I mentioned above that only four cell phone carriers provide this feature;  So what if you are one of the many people who do not have one of these four?  Well you are in luck . . . . kind of.  If you have a carrier other then AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires the other service providers to send a ‘bounce-back’ message to you automatically to let you know that your text was not received by a 911 center.   While that is good, it is also time wasted – and everyone knows that every second counts during an emergency situation.

Another piece of information cell phone users need to know is that if you do not have a text plan – you will still not be able to text to 911.

And to instill confidence in this feature, the FCC has issued a ‘recommendation’  that you do not rely on this service.     Hummmm . . . . . . .

So what are your thoughts on the Text-To-911 feature?

As you know, our C.A.S.P.E.R. System helps with emergency situations too.  To better understand all of the levels and benefits of C.A.S.P.E.R. we strongly encourage you to take the couple of minutes to go through one of our Webinars.  We offer Webinars since, although our ‘How It Works’ page helps you get an understanding of C.A.S.P.E.R., so go right now and request a Webinar from us so we can go over everything in a more visual way.  Or just give us a quick call and set one up. While C.A.S.P.E.R. is easy to implement, it is a visual concept to understand.  The Webinar is about 15 minutes long and we can provide them at your convenience any Day, Evening or Weekend.  Just give us a call, or send us an email to get this going.

We are just a phone call or email away if you would like to ask us any questions or help you get started with providing this great safety tool for your Community.

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