Allentown deploys 911 text messaging services

In an emergency situation, reaching out to 911 in a timely manner is crucial. However, depending on the situation and the person operating the phone, making a voice call is not always possible, which makes it incredibly difficult to call 911. That is where text messaging is starting to find a niche.

According to a recent article from Lehigh Valley Live, residents of Allentown, Pennsylvania that find themselves in an emergency situation will now be able to reach 911 emergency services through text message as well as voice calls.

The Allentown 911 Center will now be equipped with the ability to receive text messages. This is important for multiple reasons. Not only does it make it possible for those with speech or hearing-impairments to contact emergency services directly, but also those that are unable to speak because of an accident or if they need to remain silent because of an intruder in the home or abduction.

"The 'Text to 911' solution we have implemented is the beginning steps of next-generation 911 services for the city of Allentown," Superintendent of Communication Mike Hilbert told the news source.

City spokesman Mike Moore said that there are currently fewer than 100 centers in the country that allow residents to submit 911 text messages. In Allentown, the service will only be available for Verizon Wireless customers to start, but will be expanding soon. It will also be limited to 160-characters and abbreviations and slang are highly discouraged.

This is another example of how text messaging services are becoming a larger part of consumers lives and is something that organizations need to be aware of.