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Published: May 15, 2014
You Can Text 911 in an Emergency Beginning Today
by staff

If you're deaf or in an emergency where you can't speak, getting a hold of 911 is problematic. Recently, the FCC lifted its prohibition on using text messaging to contact 911 and the nation's leading mobile providers will begin the support of texting to 911 for emergencies in certain areas today.

The providers supporting the service include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

This is a good thing -- with more than 6 billion texts sent every day since 2012, being able to reach the police by typing rather than talking is a logical next step that could make a huge impact for people seeking help.

That doesn't mean you should start texting your emergency instead of calling. While 911 texts are free, they are not prioritized over texts to your friends, so there's no guarantee that your emergency text will make it through (though if it doesn't, you'll receive a bounce-back message to that effect).

The first -- and most important -- point to understand is that although these four carriers have now enabled Text-to-911 on their end, the have no say over whether your local police station implements it or not.

If you're located in an area that will allow the service, make sure you provide your location when texting 911. Call centers will not have the ability to triangulate your location the same way they can with a phone call.

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