That sounds like it could be a useful tool! I am not sure how I feel about it, though.
There have been times when I texted a friend to call for me, because I didn't want to call (pumping gas and a crazy fight broke out, or drug deal going on) and be overheard calling the cops on them. It sounds like a lot of work for dispatchers, and a lot of stuff to sort through to get life saving information. A lot of times people are pretty frantic, and the dispatchers use their skills to calm the person down. I wonder how that would work in a text? I hope it doesn't lead to more false reports/ prank calls. I also hope that they are prepared for potential delay in service type accusations, while they try to sort out the text messages.
FCC has required it to be available nationwide by the end of the year. Next up is video and photos to 911. OK if you have plenty of help in the dispatch center but for a single dispatcher, makes for lots of extra work when it gets busy.
I agree with Stephen, I suspect this will make it easier for people involved in nasty child custody disputes to submit anonymous "child abuse" reports via text message from throw-away phones. Something tells me the number of people who actually use this as intended (i.e. weak cell signal or individuals with hearing/sight impairments) will be miniscule...