This article is part four of a six-part series on Next Generation 911
Part one | Part two | Part three | Part four | Part five | Part six
Text-to-911 is as simple as it sounds. It means that cell phone users can send and receive text messages to and from 9-1-1 call centers.
This concept generally calls to mind the image of someone hiding in a closet while texting 9-1-1 to say there is a burglar in the house. The reason this person is texting 9-1-1 instead of calling 9-1-1 highlights the need to communicate with emergency services even when speaking could be a problem.
Text-to-911 works the same way it does when individuals send text messages to and from one another.
From a technological standpoint, when an individual makes a text call to 9-1-1, the text caller sends a text message to emergency services. That text message is then routed by the person's phone provider (Verizon, Sprint, etc.) through a Text Control Center (TCC) to the appropriate public safety answering point (PSAP) in the area. Texts are received by a PSAP within six seconds.
Text-to-911 is a part of the National Emergency Number Association's Next Generation 9-1-1 initiative. This initiative is aimed at preparing PSAPs across the country with the technology capabilities to support the modern mixed media that smartphones and communication devices are capable of offering.
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