SMS is not dead, even if a lot has changed in mobile messaging, especially in the last couple of years, with an obvious transformation in mobile markets in favour of Apps and other Over The Top (OTT) messaging services. And the reality is that SMS is used for communication with Emergency Services in many places in Europe (as reflected in the latest COCOM Implementation reports) and all over the world (i.e. SMS to 911 in the United States and Canada).

While there are many different uses for SMS during emergencies, it should not be viewed as an alternative for real-time communication such as phone calls because of the differences in approach, costs and of course technology, among other things.

This document reviews current uses of SMS technology in Emergencies for both inbound and outbound communication with PSAPs and EROs; from accessibility to public warning, and from being a backup channel for apps to being a key tool in Advanced Mobile Location. It also compares emergency SMS and voice calls, presents the challenges of using SMS for emergencies, and analyses the different implementations across Europe and beyond, in order to share best practices and experiences

This new document complements the EENA Operations document on SMS access to 112 published in 2012.

We would like to thank Mrs. Iratxe Gomez, EENA Operations Committee Co-Chair, for her valuable contributions to this publication!

You can read the document here.