Texting In The Case Of Emergency (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch

April 16, 2013 Updated Apr 16, 2013 at 4:59 PM EDT

UNITED STATES (www.nbc33.com) -- Americans now use their cell phones to text more than call. But only a small handful of 911 centers are able to receive emergency text messages.

Although in most of the country, texting 911 isn’t possible, but in Frederick County, Maryland, people who need help can text 911 dispatchers and the dispatchers can text back.

Officials cite a number of reason why people may not be able to speak and why typing would be a better alternative in the case of an emergency.

In the last 3 months, more than 13,000 texts have been transmitted to 911, most never received because very few 911 centers are equipped to accept them.

Frederick County is also the home of the Maryland School for the Deaf and the need seemed obvious.

In Chicago, 15-year-old Nathen Lane isn't deaf but when a robber came into a coffee shop where he was with his mom and sister, he was able to text his father who was at a nearby store.

They were hiding in a restroom and his mom started to call his dad, but Nathen grabbed her phone and texted him instead: don't come back robber in here call 911

Nathen then had the presence of mind to delete the text! After the text was sent and deleted, the perpetrator came in and threatened to kill them for calling 911, which they hadn’t.

His dad got the message, called 911 and then sent a one-word message: Done. By the time he got back to the coffee shop, the police were there. Everyone was ok.

The FCC has ordered that all 911 centers be able to accept text messages by the summer of 2014.

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