The world is more wired than it’s ever been, and the visible impact of technology on modes of communication is evident. The government has taken this into consideration as it work towards improving national safety. In an effort to modernize emergency services, the FCC is considering the idea of allowing citizens to report crimes and stream video from cellular phones to emergency centers.
Being able to text 9-1-1 for help would be the next step in upgrading services. It would allow individuals to report crimes without being overheard, especially in potentially dangerous situations such as home invasions, kidnappings, or robberies.
In a press release, the FCC cited the infamous Virginia Tech shootings as an example of how a modernized system could have been useful.
“The technological limitations of 9-1-1 can have tragic, real-world consequences,” the release said. “During the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting, students and witnesses desperately tried to send texts to 9-1-1 that local dispatchers never received. If these messages had gone through, first responders may have arrived on the scene faster with firsthand intelligence about the life-threatening situation that was unfolding.”
The FCC is also working on creating an automated pinging of 9-1-1 sensors, like the On-Star system used in cars.
9-1-1 became a national standard back in 1968, and handles more than 230 million calls each year, with 70 percent of those calls now coming from cellular phones.