- The 9-1-1 network is trusted, reliable, and secure. It's the product of years of careful design to ensure callers are connected with the appropriate 9-1-1 center (known as "public safety answering point" or "PSAP").
- It's separate from the networks that handle ordinary calls and other smart phone communications (such as texts, apps, social media, internet access, etc.)
- When you dial 9-1-1, your service provider hands off your emergency call to this separate network, which is designed to handle communications involving the safety of life and property.
- It's closely regulated and monitored at the federal, state, and local levels, with rules that vary by jurisdiction.
- The most reliable way to request emergency services is through a voice call to 9-1-1. At present, the 9-1-1 network is not capable of handling more than voice calls, or in some cases, basic text messages.
- The 9-1-1 network is gradually transitioning to advanced, IP-based networks. These Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) networks will enable the use of text, video, and other data over reliable 9-1-1 networks.
- Mobile apps are being developed that attempt to provide advanced capabilities before NG9-1-1 arrives, BUT: apps use the public internet, as opposed to the safe and reliable 9-1-1 network.
- Many 9-1-1 centers do not have internet access. Those that do, closely control it in the interest of security.
- Standards must be completed to ensure that these apps work nationwide and are effective for emergency response.
- These apps often make dangerously misleading claims that they can replace a voice call to 9-1-1.
Bottom line? Continue making voice calls.