Verizon Gives Boost to Public Safety with 911 Initiative

Despite the millions of mobile users who inhabit an increasingly better connected world, the mobile era has created no shortage of obstacles and opportunities for public officials to confront.

To that end, Verizon is giving a much needed to boost to public safety with its latest effort.

The nation’s largest wireless carrier is taking steps toward offering its customers a new way to communicate with 911 call centers run by public safety officials.

On Friday, Verizon announced today that it has selected TeleCommunication Systems Inc. to participate in an initiative that will enable customers to send 911 SMS texts to the call centers.

“While consumers should always first try to contact a 911 center by making a voice call,,” Verizon advises, “this enhanced SMS service, when deployed, will offer an alternative for customers on the Verizon Wireless network who are deaf or hard of hearing and cannot make voice calls or who could be placed in additional danger by speaking.”

Marjorie Hsu, Verizon Wireless vice president of technology, says the initiative gives a huge boost to public safety.

“Verizon is at the forefront of 911 public-safety innovations, and today’s announcement is another step in making SMS-to-911 service available to those who cannot make a voice call to 911,” Hsu asserts. “Our company is continuing its long-standing commitment to address the needs of public safety and our customers by offering another way to get help in an emergency by using wireless technology.”

The company is working on plans to make the new capabilities available in select locations by early 2013.