Verizon announces 911 texting service

SMS service aids hard of hearing, those who could be endangered by speaking

By PoliceOne Staff

Verizon announced Tuesday that it is working on a 911 texting service that will enable those who are unable to make voice calls to reach out for help during emergencies.

The SMS service will offer an alternative for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing and cannot make voice calls. It also aids those who could be placed in additional danger by speaking.

Verizon is partnering with TeleCommunication Systems, which has been working with the Federal Communications Center (FCC) for over two years to develop E911 technology.

Verizon aims to make this new service available to select dispatchers by early 2013. The service will be offered to Verizon Wireless customers with SMS capabilities.

The FCC’s long-term plans are more ambitious, extending beyond emergency texting. According to its 2010 announcement, the next generation of 911 services will include mobile videos and photos designed to provide first responders with real-time information, as well as automatic alerts installed in devices, enhancing the safety aspects of security cameras, highway cameras and personal medical devices.

In August last year, the FCC announced five steps to rolling out the Next Generation 911 (NG911), just one month before the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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