Cell Phones and 911: What You Need to Know

September 8, 2009 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

A recent story out of Alabama, published in the Shelby County Reporter, highlights some important information you need to know when making a 911 call from a cell phone.

First, although Jack Bauer may be able to pin point a cell phone using a radio and a stick of gum, most likely your local emergency response does not have the ability to quickly triangulate your exact position. In fact, because of the prevalence of cell phone towers, you could stand in the same place, make two calls a minute apart, and they might get picked up by two different towers. These towers may be in a neighboring town or counties, making it hard for 911 dispatchers to quickly assess exactly which agency needs to be dispatched and to what location.

Second, the problems that arise from pinpointing cell phone location require callers to know and report their exact location to 911 dispatchers. Although, in an emergency, it is easy to panic and forget or misreport your location, when you call from a cell phone, it is important to tell the dispatcher what county and city you live in, along with an exact address.

Keeping this information in mind will help emergency services locate and help you faster and easier.

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