This article is part five of a six-part series on Next Generation 911.
Part one | Part two | Part three | Part four | Part five | Part six
There are numerous reasons why the United States needs text-to-911 capabilities.
To start with, text telephone (TTY) services are being phased out. This is the service that helps the deaf and hard of hearing communicate now via phone to 9-1-1 emergency services. There are 36 million people in the country that use TTY services now, and they are going to need a new way to talk to 9-1-1. Text-to-911 is what they will use.
Another reason for text-to-911 is because there are times when help is needed, but making a phone call to 9-1-1 is not possible. For instance, if an individual feels threatened and thinks being overheard calling 9-1-1 would be dangerous, that person could send a text for help.
Text-to-911 isn’t just for when you can’t call, but for when you don’t feel comfortable calling.
Imagine riding with a drunk driver in a vehicle. Calling 9-1-1 could pose a risk for the individual who may not want to let the driver know that he or she is making a call for help. However, being able to reach out for help in some fashion helps keep people safe.
Domestic abuse situations highlight another scenario in which the person involved might be uncomfortable being overheard or might even endanger themselves if overheard talking to a 9-1-1 call taker.
Having text as an option makes that hesitancy go away and ensures the correct response will be dispatched to the situation.
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