Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

TEXT 911 Emergency ‘Calls’ Still Only in Some Places

Unedited image credit.
Suppose you cannot make a voice phone call in an emergency.

Should the inability to make a voice call prevent you from calling 911?

If you read some headlines today, you might think that you can Text 911 from anywhere. Well, get ready to be disappointed. In most places, you still cannot Text 911, but today we are one step closer to eliminating this problem. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has been making progress on 911 Text requirements.

In an agreement with NENA and APCO, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have voluntarily committed to provide text-to-911 service by May 15, 2014 in all areas served by their networks where a 911 call center is prepared to receive texts.[1]


Check the online pdf list to see if you are in a place where the 911 center is capable of receiving Text 911.[2]

If it is not available in your area, it is suggested that Text 911 will be available by the end of 2014, but this is misleading.

All of the phone companies should be able to send text messages to 911 call centers by the end of 2014.

So what? What does it really take for a phone company that offers text messaging to add 911 call centers to the possible recipients?

The real hold up in this is the 911 call centers.

Some 911 call centers need to make big changes to be able to receive text messages.

Look at the short list of places where Text 911 is available. The locations are according to the call center, not according to the phone company. This will require the addition of equipment to the call centers, integration with the existing equipment, and training of the people working there.

How will you know if your Text 911 was communicated to the 911 call center?

beginning September 30, 2013, all wireless telephone companies and certain other text messaging providers are required by the FCC to send an automatic “bounce-back” message to any consumer who tries to send a text message to 911 where this service is not yet available.[1]

Bold text is from the original.

Text 911 should be able to identify your location, since location identification is one of the requirements for newer cell phones for 911 calls.[3]

IMPORTANT! If you use a wireless phone or other type of mobile device, make sure to do the following in an emergency:

  • Always contact 911 by making a voice call, if you can.
  • If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability, use a TTY or a telecommunications relay service, if possible.
  • Remember – in most cases now, you cannot reach 911 by sending a text message.[1]

Bold text is from the original.

I talked with someone at my local 911 call center and they have had the capability to receive Text 911 communication since last year, but only from one cell phone company so far. There is a large deaf community, so it is important, even if they do not receive many texts.

As people become more aware of the possibility, they should use text messages to communicate with the 911 call center, but they should still try to place a voice call, so that information can be exchanged more quickly.

What about pictures?

A picture could provide very important information. A picture of a suspect could improve the response to an active shooting incident. A picture could also be used to try to confuse the police, just as 911 voice calls could. A picture of a major incident could help to determine the best direction for apparatus to approach the scene, such as if sent by someone on the interstate highway, who is not familiar with the area.

Picture 911 does not appear to be something the phone companies are going to provide, but that may change. I probably could have written the same thing about Text 911 five years ago.


[1] What You Need to Know About Text-to-911
Federal Communications Commission

[2] Text-to-911 Deployments as of May 9, 2014
Federal Communications Commission
Full Text Document in PDF Download format.

[2] 911 Wireless Services
Federal Communications Commission


EMT shoves cop out of ambulance, gets arrested


Could this have been handled better?

Did the police need to arrest the medic on scene?

Did the medic need to push the police officer?

We will probably never know the full story because the charges were dropped, but . . .

An FDNY medic was briefly arrested yesterday for allegedly shoving a cop from the back of an ambulance while a stricken woman was being treated inside, sources said.[1]


A 59 year old woman with chest pain should have a prompt 12 lead ECG (ElectroCardioGram).

The woman’s breasts will probably be exposed, so appropriate attempts at privacy are important.

The police need information for their documentation of what happened, but it is not at all clear if that is the extent of the information the police wanted.

She is having chest pain. I need to expose her chest for a 12 lead. Would you step outside for a couple of minutes to allow her some privacy?

Image credit. This does not appear to be a woman, so privacy is less of a concern in our culture.

That should result in the desired outcome.

Was that the way the medic handled it?

We do not know.

Was the police officer unreasonable?

We do not know.

Was there a history between the medic and the police officer?

We do not know.

Since the charges were dropped, we probably will not find out.

Even if the medic is completely wrong, there is not a good reason to arrest him on scene. If the medic is the one providing patient care, that will interrupt care.

Were there others able to provide uninterrupted care without any delay and with all of the information that the arrested medic had?

We do not know.

The police can follow the ambulance to the hospital, or ride up front, and arrest the medic after care is transferred.

The comments at PoliceOne.com are interesting and support the medic. The comments I have seen from EMS tend to support the police. It is nice to see people trying to put themselves in the position of members of the other group.

Never, EVER thought I’d say this… but I support the hose monkeys on this one![2]


Mision number one: preserve life and limb. Everything else comes later. And a piss contest over authority has no place and time when a patient needs assistance. Period.[2]


The officer, unless he was trying to get a dying declaration (which wasn’t the case) can wait until she is treated.

And if he is willing to charge the EMT, shouldn’t the officer be hit with the same charge? He’s doing the same thing that the EMT was doing.

God, I hate to be on the bucket brigade’s side.[2]


The article said that both parties called for a supervisor- that was a good call and it should have ended right there. Apologies from both sides, shake hands, get back to work.[2]


I’ve had EMT’s lose their temper and yell at me when it was unwarranted. Ive had them ask me to take cuffs off a combative person that was still struggling. I’ve had them say all kinds of stupid shit. But, I wait until the call is over before discussing it with them. Until then, they belong to their patient. Afterwards however, I can take all the time I need to tell them where to stick their medkit.[2]


Have I ever needed to push a police officer on scene, or off?


I would only expect to do this if the oficer were in danger of being hit by something (car, falling object, . . . ) or if the officer is completely out of control.

I don’t see that as the case here.

Was the police officer unreasonable?

Was the medic unreasonable?

We do not have a lot of information, but

I think that both were probably wrong.

We do not usually get to the level of national news with just one person being unreasonable.

Both police and EMS work in jobs that require excellent communication skills, so why was communication so poor on this call?

Why do we get assaulted on the job?

There are a variety of reasons, but one big one is poor communication skills.


[1] EMT, cop scuffle in ambulance
By Georgett Roberts, Jessica Simeone and Bob Fredericks
Last Updated: 4:32 AM, April 2, 2013
Posted: 2:02 AM, April 2, 2013
The New York Post

[2] EMT shoves cop out of ambulance, gets arrested – A scuffle began when the officer tried questioning a woman who the EMT was treating
April 02, 2013
By Georgett Roberts , Jessica Simeone and Bob Fredericks
Article and comments at PoliceOne.com


Cell phone prohibitions – Winnipeg, Canada; Baltimore, Maryland; and other reactionaries


No company policies were violated in the production and distribution of these images.

That’s my story – and I’m possibly even sticking to it.

The latest fad among fashionable emergency managers appears to be banning cell phones.

Can we misuse technology?

Of course.

Should we ban technology?

Only if we are incapable of responsible behavior.

What does that tell us about the places that are banning the use of cell phones on duty?

These managers are not to be trusted with responsibility.

It is refreshing to have management come right out and tell us that they are too irresponsible to be trusted.

Now we just need to get rid of those admitting to incompetence by banning cell phones or other technology.

You are a fire chief. You send a bunch of fire fighters to respond quickly to fires in a large truck that is capable of driving over most vehicles the public will be using on the same streets.

This is a much greater danger to the public than the possibility of release of personal information.

If these chiefs cannot manage the use of cell phones, how can they manage the use of fire trucks?

These chiefs should be fired.

You are an EMS chief. You send a bunch of paramedics out to treat patients with a variety of drugs, that are deadly when used inappropriately.

This is a much greater danger to the public than the possibility of release of personal information.

If these chiefs cannot manage the use of cell phones, how can they manage the use of medications?

These chiefs should be fired.

The danger of the people afraid of technology is greater than the danger of the technology.

Technology can be managed.

Stupidity is a much bigger problem.

Firegeezer sums it up in the beautifully titled –

“Just shut the %#*~& up!!”[1]

Several others have written about this.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6]

Then there are the people who would ban cell phones from classrooms, but Greg Friese tells us how to be smarter than the prohibitionists. We can use smart phones to help us teach.[7]

I would rather read what Greg Friese writes at Everyday EMS Tips and learn about how to use technology to help patients, rather than read some anti-technology drivel by someone who does not understand technology.

Obviously, nobody will ever be able to use a hidden camera to record what happens on scene if cell phones are prohibited.


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Ignorance is its own punishment, but ignorance also punishes others.

We need to stop lowering the lowest common denominator of employees and of managers.


[1] “Just shut the %#*~& up!!”
November 2, 2012

[2] Mourning The Loss of Free Speech, Ham-Handed Chiefs, and How We Got Here
November 16, 2012
Firehouse Zen

[3] Firehouse websites banned under new Baltimore social media policy. Critics also concerned about free speech issues.
November 2, 2012

[4] City Fire Department implements new social media policy. Union leaders, experts say provisions infringe on First Amendment rights
By Kevin Rector
The Baltimore Sun
8:10 p.m. EDT, November 2, 2012

[5] A New Danger in EMS?
Posted by daleloberger on November 1, 2012
High Performance EMS

[6] Cellphones off limits for firefighters, paramedics
CBC News
Posted: Oct 31, 2012 5:38 PM ET
Last Updated: Oct 31, 2012 6:51 PM ET

[7] Integrating Smartphones and Tablet Devices into EMS Education
Nov 1 2012 8:00AM
Room: 219
Category: Educator
Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P
Thursday schedule – EMS Expo 2012

Most EMT and paramedic students arrive at class with a smartphone or tablet device they use to stay in touch with friends, family, and social networks. They use these devices to consume popular media, find and research references, and upload their own multimedia content about their work, academic, and personal experiences. Instead of banning these devices from the classroom or workplace, this session will focus on opportunities to integrate mobile devices into classroom, lab, and clinical experiences. The presenter will share and demonstrate top resources, software programs, apps, and best practices. The audience will have opportunities to share techniques that are working in their programs and discuss the risks and benefits of integrating mobile technology into EMS education.