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What If You Need 9-1-1, But It’s Too Dangerous to Speak?

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What If You Need 9-1-1, But It’s Too Dangerous to Speak?

Technology has led to ways to contact emergency services without having to make a phone call.

Technology has led to ways to contact emergency services without having to make a phone call.

Technology has led to ways to contact emergency services without having to make a phone call.

Technology has led to ways to contact emergency services without having to make a phone call.

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From a young age children are taught to dial 911 in case of an emergency. And while this is still a very valid method of protection, as technology evolves on a daily basis, new ways to contact emergency help is also emerging.

 

November of 1967 marked the first proposal in which a phone line was created for people in dangerous situations to contact the police. At that time, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended that a “single number should be established” throughout the entire nation for which emergencies could be reported. The administration recognized that it was much simpler for those of all ages, education levels, and abilities to contact one single number as opposed to separate telephone numbers for each different type of emergency.

 

Working alongside the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), found a universal emergency number that could be easily recognized across the nation, establishing 9-1-1 as this very line.

The most important reason for which this number was decided upon was because of its brief and easy-to-remember nature. With this, it is also a very simple number to dial and can be done quite quickly, as in many circumstances, every second counts.

The first call actually made to this number was by Senator Rankin Fite in February of 1968. Since then, 9-1-1 has been widely accepted as the emergency number to call no matter how minor the situation may seem, and in the U.S. alone, an average of 240 million calls are made annually.

Calling 9-1-1 in any emergency situation is of course an option that needs to remain relevant, but police departments and technology companies have recently created many new ways in which a person can report an urgent circumstance if speaking on a phone isn’t an option.

The FCC now requires that all wireless carriers or any form of text messaging provider in the U.S. must deliver emergency text-to-call centers that request them. While not all emergency call centers are asking for such services, this ability is becoming much more commonplace across the nation.

Though the FCC still emphasizes that phone calling is the most effective way to reach help as information can be received in a more timely manner, it does recognize that certain circumstances are much safer to handle over text. If an intruder is breaking into a home, a text message is a much more discreet way to contact the police; likewise, if someone is hiding from a criminal but in close proximity, it is much better to remain silent and text 9-1-1 without drawing notice to oneself by talking to a 9-1-1 operator.

Another 9-1-1 service that has recently been made comes with the new updated Iphone iOS 11 called Emergency SOS. Apple created two approaches for which an Iphone user is able to contact local police. The first is to hold down the side button and either of the volume buttons until the power and SOS sliders appear. If a person then slides the Emergency SOS button to the right, a three second timer begins and a loud sounding alarm blares.

On older phone models, this function is still available but users have different commands to activate it. In order to start that same countdown, the lock button must be pushed rapidly five times, and once again, the slider will appear. Once the button is dragged, the three seconds begin and the same alarm is triggered, immediately contacting a local emergency help center.

When the 9-1-1 call is over, the Iphone automatically sends a text message to the Emergency Contacts listed on that person’s phone with his/her current location, as long as location services is turned on.

Again, this method is not one to be considered discreet as the alarm sound is impossible to miss, but this could prove highly effective in scaring off someone who could cause potential harm.

Ultimately, technological improvements have made contacting emergency services that much more simple, beginning with a simple phone call to now an Iphone doing it for you. Each scenario presents with it highly different circumstances, and so it is important to know each and every option to contact 9-1-1 so that everyone is best protected from danger.

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What If You Need 9-1-1, But It’s Too Dangerous to Speak?