9-1-1 has served as the nations one call emergency number since 1968. Soon, you’ll be able to text your emergency to that number as well.

Wichita Falls Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. John Spragins says just such a system is in the testing phase. “The four major cell carriers basically approached the FCC about allowing this. It’s not by federal mandate. It’s a voluntary thing on the part of those carriers.”

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile are planning on a May 15 launch date for the program.  With this new system, you will be able to send a text to the 9-1-1 call center from your cell phone. Sgt. Spragins says the City of Wichita Falls is “on board and ready to go…once the carriers flip the switch”. He says that the City currently has a state of the art emergency call system that is already capable of handling the 9-1-1 emergency texts.

The one difference, however, between a call and text is that the police won’t be able to track you via GPS. With an actual call, the GPS in your phone activates, enabling police to track your location. Sgt. Spragins says that capability does not currently exist with text messaging, so if you use a text to summon emergency help you’ll need to be very specific about where you are.

See the FCC's "What You Need To Know About Text To 9-1-1" to learn more.