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The future has arrived

Can you now text your emergency to 911?

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Four of the country's largest telecom companies — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint — announced that you can now text your emergency to 911. However, as exciting as that might sound, the chances of it working are actually slim. The service is only working in some counties in the 16 states where it's available.

The FCC has warned that "in most cases, you cannot reach 911 by sending a text message." A bounce-back message will be sent if the call center doesn't receive your desperate cry for help. Another caveat: the service works only with emergency call centers that have upgraded to a new browser-based technology that can receive the texts.

Indeed, even though the FCC has given mobile carriers until the end of the year to enable text-to-911 services, it's likely going to take several years until call centers can receive them.