THE PONTARELLI BLOG

Travel Safety Tips: What You Should Know About Texting to 911 for Emergencies When Traveling

chicago limousine serviceBeing able to text 911 from a cellphone has helped saved many lives. Although people have been able to dial 911 from a landline and mobile phone for years, texting is a relatively new option. As a traveler, you should understand how this service works and what you need to do for travel safety during an emergency.

Texting Capability

Only recently has 911 texting become available in the United States, giving you the ability to reach out for help when a voice call is not a good option.

  • If you are seated in the back of a taxi or a ride-sharing (TNC) car and feel unsafe or are a hotel guest and an intruder breaks in, rather than call for help, you can simply send a 911 text.

  • For people with hearing and speech disabilities, 911 texting is extremely beneficial. Although the recommendation is to use a TTY as the first option for seeking help in an emergency, texting is also a way to reach out for assistance.

Understanding Limitations

As with any new technology, initial limitations are expected. The same is true for 911 texting.

  • Limited Areas – At this time, 911 texting is limited to certain areas because only Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile offer this capability. However, with ongoing demand, other carriers will eventually join in, which will expand the coverage area for emergencies.

  • Deployments – Of the 16 states where 911 texting is available, only certain counties receive messages.

  • Location – If you use a landline phone to place a 911 call, the emergency dispatcher sees your location automatically. With texting, the location does not appear. Instead, the phone’s signal is pinged, which provides authorities with a location within close proximity.

  • Rules – At present, the Federal Communications Commission has no authority to establish rules for call centers that take 911 calls. Therefore, the FCC cannot mandate that these centers accept 911 messages.

If you are away from home and send a 911 text but the message does not go through, you will get a bounce-back message advising as such. From there, you still have the option of making a voice call. This ensures you are not waiting for help to arrive, believing your text was sent.

Trusting a Limousine Company

For trips out of town, you can enhance safety by hiring a reputable limousine company. That way, you have complete assurance that your driver is professional, the vehicle is in proper working condition, and the trip is completely safe.

Posted on Oct 21 2015

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