It’s a sign of times when emergency call centers are turning to SMS. Moreover, it’s plain logic to allow people to reach the center as soon as they can and in any manner they can or want. That said, an emergency call center in Waterloo, Iowa is officially the first in the country to accept “911″ emergency SMS and even reply back.
You may be thinking it takes longer time to send a text than to make an actually phone call, but what about deaf people – they certainly prefer texting over calling. In addition, this could be useful for situations where the victim is hiding and doesn’t want to be heard.
On the downside, though, dispatcher can’t determine texter’s location via SMS, and they could do that with a call. Or they could co-operate with carriers to get location information, but that’s another story…
In any way, it’s good to see an emergency call center embracing SMS and I’m looking forward to see other centers going this route, too.