That’s if a proposal by the FCC (The Federal Communications Commission) goes through. They’ve already gained approval for some wireless carriers to let you SMS 911 in an emergency, letting you text through the details of your situation. Now they’re pushing for other carriers, and more internet messaging sites to do the same — including Apple and iMessages.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all already on board the scheme, but that still leaves small local carriers, and various prepay companies lagging behind. While it might seem a bit bizarre to try and send your emergency details over a message rather than speaking, there are times when it might be useful. The FCC explains:
“[the service] will keep pace with how consumers communicate today and can provide a lifesaving alternative in situations where a person with a hearing or speech disability is unable to make a voice call, where voice networks are congested, or where a 911 voice call could endanger the caller.”
The first iteration of Text-to-911 will roll out May 15, 2014 — so don’t go trying to send a message about the disaster you’re stuck in until then, unfortunately.