In tonight's Healthier Me, "calling 911" could someday become "texting 911."
With more people communicating through text messages, the federal government thinks texting should be another way to call for help.
Texting would have advantages -- for example, text messages are silent, allowing people to signal for help without drawing attention to themselves, and they go through faster without clogging communication lines.
Unfortunately, there's still some bad news about texting 911: the infrastructure is nowhere near ready for it, and phone GPS services aren't yet accurate enough to provide consistent and timely responses. Also, dispatchers can't easily give directions for CPR or other lifesaving procedures via text, and time would be lost setting up a phone call.
The FCC wants emergency planners and phone companies to be ready for 911 text service by 2014, however experts don't think it will happen that quickly. But it's definitely on the way, especially with the next generation of dispatchers and citizens so comfortable with texting.
Locally, Fargo and Grand Forks police are already using texting to help fight crime with their "text to tip" lines.
You can text to tip anytime:
Grand Forks 701-317-5678