Dumb But Practical Question About 911

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by SomeDudeAsking, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. SomeDudeAsking macrumors 65816

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    #1
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    Was wondering if anyone know if 911 can receive and respond to text messages? I've never tried it but in certain emergency situations such as a kidnapping or a home invasion, it is much much more discrete to fire off a silent text message to 911 than to make a voice call and have your attacker hear you.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    I don't think the 911 service can. But I think it has been thought about and might have been implemented.
     
  3. Pink∆Floyd macrumors 68020

    Pink∆Floyd

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  4. The Californian macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    It's slowly being implemented nationwide. By slowly, I mean snails pace. The problem is that there are so many different agencies and technologies used that there really isn't a standardized way to implement it.
     
  5. TantalizedMind macrumors 6502a

    TantalizedMind

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    Do you have an emergency right now? Why is this on the iPhone forum? Sorry. :rolleyes:
     
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    Implementing this will cost states and towns a fair amount of money. At the moment very few states can afford it.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #7
    He can ask a question about something can't he without getting a smart a$$ response like yours :rolleyes:
     
  8. The Californian macrumors 68040

    The Californian

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    I think it's perfect for the iPhone forum, iPhone users are the only ones that would seriously benefit from the ability to text 911 considering how many times we'd drop the call if we tried calling.
     
  9. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #9
    No you cannot SMS/MMS anything to 9-1-1 at this time. It is in the works throughout the country and the telephone companies are working on ways to deliver those messages to 9-1-1 centers. There is a thing called ESI Networks that are being developed by some telco's that will facilitate the deliverance of these messages to 9-1-1 centers. There are a lot of technical hurdles to be overcome and some political posturing as well in developing these ESI nets. Either Kentucky or Tennessee have developed a statewide ESI net and are in the process of converting their 9-1-1 centers to accept SMS and in Florida, several counties have banded together to create their own ESI net as well.

    It's a while off yet, but eventually 9-1-1 centers will be able to receive SMS/MMS and video and email as well. It's a lot of work and testing to get from analog lines to 9-1-1 centers to true SIP (session initiated protocol) and IP networks to carry all calls and digital traffic to the 9-1-1 centers.

    You can read up more on this at NENA which is one of the two major public safety organizations in the country, the other being APCO.

    The project is called NG9-1-1 or Next Generation 9-1-1.
     
  10. someone28624 macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I guess if I'm ever captured and thrown in someone's backseat, where I need to remain completely silent, I'll have to text someone who I know is glued to their phone and ask them to call 911 for me. Probably my boss. I think she even showers with her cell phone.
     
  11. vizkiz macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I'm sure calling 911 and leaving your phone on would be more effective. Then they can see where you're calling from, and follow you if you're moved somewhere. I think that would be better than them just receiving 911 txt message. Then they'd also be able to hear what was going on around you, if you're being threatened, etc.
     
  12. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #13
    As long as the call comes in what is known as Phase II, which will give the lat/lon on the phone. If the cellular system cannot get it, it will deliver a Phase I call to the 9-1-1 center which will only provide the operators with the lat/lon of the tower the call came in from. Dispatchers can rebid the call in an attempt to get the Phase II to come in, but it doesn't always work. Plus if anyone is still using a really old analog cell phone, the Phase II will never work.
     
  13. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

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    #14
    There a only a couple cities in the U.S. that support this. I think just two right now if I remember a USA Today article from a few months ago.
     
  14. vizkiz macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    A call is still better than a txt. As long as whoever has you doesn't know you have the phone, the operator can hear anything that may give them a clue as to where you are. And generally you're connected to more than one tower (two or three) at a time, wouldn't they be able to see that and get a general area?
     
  15. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030

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    #16
    Unless you're on AT&T, then your call will be dropped.
     
  16. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    That is false. A cell phone connects to only one tower at a time, typically the closest, and strongest signal. The Phase I calls only give tower lat/lon and then the dispatchers only have a 5-7 mile radius around the tower to direct police/fire/EMS to look. But they will try and rebid the call as long as they have a connection in order to pinpoint the phone with a Phase II bid.
     
  17. benhollberg macrumors 68020

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  18. vizkiz macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    :rolleyes:
    I had many more dropped calls with Verizon in my area than with ATT. I was with Verizon for 4 years and with ATT for about 3 years now.
    It depends on where you live. My preference here is ATT, it seems better than VZW was.
     
  19. UTclassof89 macrumors 6502

    UTclassof89

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    Think of the havoc a nefarious person could wreak by implementing a botnet attack with dozens of fake text messages claiming a school shooting.

    It's very hard to think of a situation where texting is a more effective means of communication than speaking (AND in which the caller/texter could not just as easily contact a friend to make a spoken 911 call)
     
  20. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

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    #21
    Two excellent points. I wouldn't want to text anyway, right now I don't even like to text. Calling is so much faster and easier.
     
  21. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #22
    That's right. These are some of the inherent problems with the advancement in technology. It's why NENA and 9-1-1 Centers across the nation are working to develop good technology, standards and policy to accommodate real 9-1-1 calls for help via text.
     
  22. benhollberg macrumors 68020

    benhollberg

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  23. VulchR macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Isn't there an app for this? :confused:

    Seriously - I imagine there must be an app that uses GPS, silent operation etc. with your details already entered, akin to the devices used for older people who need a 'panic button' in case they fall etc.
     
  24. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #25
    Perhaps, but there is no way yet to route it to a 9-1-1 center on the emergency trunks.
     

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