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What Does 911 Texting Mean for The Future of EMS?


A few days ago, an assortment of jurisdictions (see a full list here) spread across the United States began allowing people to send text messages to 911 rather than calling.

One of the more obvious benefits of 911 texting include greater ease of communicating with emergency services for deaf people. In addition, it may be easier for victims of domestic violence to text 911 in circumstances where a voice call would be dangerous for the 911 caller.

Other potential benefits of sending text messages 911 rather than calling and conversing with a 911 operator in real-time are… not so obvious.

People in cities where emergency service texting is already up and running can simply text 911 with all the details of their emergency. They’ll need to remember to include their location in the text… something that could easily slip their mind in an emergency.

Some current implementations of the 911 text message service allow attaching a photo to the message. The usefulness and practicality of snapping a photo of an emergency with a cell phone and sending it over the air or off a satellite to 911 services remains to be seen, but is definitely a major consideration for the future.

And what happens if/when 911 operators/first responders start downloading videos of emergencies?

What do you think about the move towards 911 texting in the United States? Is this a sign of advancement, or does this move have negative implications?

And how long is it before emergency air ambulance services are communicating with patients chiefly by iMessage exchanges? I mean, aside from all the instances where this has likely already occurred.

How about it, Air Medical Net readers? Is “turn-based” 911 calling going to overtake “real-time” 911 calling in popularity? Why not just send an email to 911? Leave your comments below.

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