On May 15th, the four major US carriers - that'd be T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T - are all going to be implementing the text-to-911 service. This new service is basically going to allow you to send a text to 911, instead of a voice call. Which will be convenient for those times when you can't use a voice call, or even for those that are deaf - it'll be huge for them. The service is also catering to young adults who are more likely to text than to call. I know I'd rather text someone than call them myself, and I'm sure I'm not alone here. Of course, there are those situations where you need to be discrete in dialing 911, and this is here to save you, basically.
The process for text-to-911 is simply, but not exactly fast. Basically you'll text your location and situation. Then the operator will reply, and ask for more information so they can help you out. Now this is a good thing because it lets you know that someone did indeed see that message and is acting on it. Right now, only text-based SMS is supported, no MMS just yet.
Text-to-911 isn't perfect, and now is it foolproof, but it's yet another way to get your call into 911, err text. It's not going to replace the dialing of 911, at least not anytime soon. The FCC has approved the new system, but they also reminded everyone that dialing in is a lot faster and easier than texting to 911. Also, text-to-911 isn't available everywhere, which the FCC has a list of where it is supported and where it isn't, we have a link to that list in the sources down below, for those interested.
It's great to see technology helping out the police, paramedics, and firefighters, although it's not perfect just yet. We'll have to see how great it actually works. But it's better than nothing, I suppose.