Text-911 was established in 2014 to allow those in need of emergency services to notify authorities of the situation through texting and other mobile device features.
AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint have decided to deliver these messages through the Public Safety Answering Points in 16 states. Text-911 is highly recommended for people who are unable to hear, struggling in speech or face physical abuse. The application encourages using the text option as an anonymous witness.
A few points to keep in mind when using the application is to make sure to be clear, concise and brief when contacting help via message. It’s also important to remain in the same area for the 911 tracking software to guide help to the right location.
“I think Text-911 is great but has just a few little hiccups in gathering information in a timely manner,” said Oklahoma Police Officer Brannon Taylor. “The downsides can be the delay in messages between the reporting party and dispatcher. And the dispatcher has questions they need to ask in order to give responding police officers the information on what kind of scene they are about to arrive on.”
Text-911 is similar to the SafeTrek app. SafeTrek offers user safety services for $2.99 a month. The app is designed to alert 911 when the user is in danger.
“When you feel unsafe, simply launch SafeTrek and hold your thumb on the blue button,” said Karen from SafeTrek. “When you feel safe, release your thumb and enter your 4-digit PIN to cancel an alert from being sent.”
Within 10 seconds of a thumb being removed from the blue button without entering a PIN, SafeTrek will notify the local police.
“In addition, our safety advisors will provide them [local police] real time location updates and continue to assist you until help arrives,” said Karen. “SafeTrek not only locates you quicker and more accurately than 911, but it can also track your location during an emergency helping ensure you receive help even if you cannot speak or do not know where you are at.”
For students who work late hours, have to cross dimly lit parking lots at night or find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings, the SafeTrek app allows a true sense of security.
“I’ve used the SafeTrek app for years,” said Rachel Frazer, sophomore Public Relations major. “I love that the app works perfectly every time, and it’s inconspicuous and easy to use. Even though I’m lucky to have never found myself in a situation where I needed the police, SafeTrek keeps me from imagining the worst every time I walk a block from the downtown coffee shop to my car at night.”