Need help? Just text '911.'

Placing a 911 call for help during an emergency would be as simple as sending a text message under a plan unveiled Aug. 10 by the Federal Communications Commission, Mashable reports.

The Next Generation 911 plan announced by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski would allow consumers to send text messages, videos or photos to emergency responders via public safety answering points.

Genachowski called that part of the NG911 plan long overdue in light of the advance of mobile technology. "It's hard to imagine that airlines can send text messages if your flight is delayed, but you can't send a text message to 911 in an emergency," The Hill quoted him as saying.

The plan also calls for developing location accuracy mechanisms so first responders will be better able to pinpoint the exact location of people who need assistance, and it calls for the creation of a governance structure for the NG911 network.

GCN reported
late last year that the FCC was looking for ways to integrate cellular and digital technology into its NG911 system. The current emergency response system was developed in the days when the use of land lines was prevalent, but as GCN reported in February, 70 percent of calls made to 911 come from cell phones.

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