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GLAD Urges "Text to 911"
Posted by Irena Taylor on Jun 11, 2014 - 7:46:12 PM

Typical screen a video phone user would see.
LOS ANGELES—On May 16, NBC4 News announced the possibility of sending out text messages to police departments in the event of an emergency instead of the typical 911 call.


NBC4 News interviewed a few people who thought well of the idea, saying it can be faster to send a text when caught in an emergency situation. Despite the positive feedback, the project still needs to iron out a few details in the plan. They reported that though messages can be sent out via text to police centers, those centers will be unavailable to receive the messages.


The texting alternative would not only be seen as preferable to the times, were texting is an everyday occurrence and habit, but it could also better benefit those who are deaf and/or hard of hearing, NBC4 News interviewed GLAD Health Education Director, Heidi Booth who commented on the possibility of sending emergency texts as “[feeling] more safe as an individual and confident.”


Most deaf/hard of hearing use a video phone when making calls, and typically go through an interpreter to convey a message. With a texting service, the use of an interpreter is no longer necessary. Four mobile carriers are behind the use of text system to contact police: Verzion, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. GLAD advocates calling 911 and urging the use of texting 911 with the slogan “it will save lives.”


Sixteen states currently have the ability to text 911: Maine, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Montana. NBC concluded that a texting service to contact police would not be available to Californians until next year.


Working out all the bugs in texting system would be tedious, but police officers from California and other states say that calling 911 would still be more efficient when it comes to responding to their dialogue.


Cliffside Malibu




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