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Monday, May 02, 2005

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The Complimenting Commenter

Thanks for at least trying to comment and actually emailing me Liz. That's so cool. The post was informative too. I'm glad I followed the link.

Ennis

Funny - I made a 911 call from my cell phone yesterday. My 88 year old neighbor, the "cripple" (his words, not mine) with diabetes, limited mobility and Alzheimers fell while his wife was at the supermarket. I called from my cell, and then noticed that his land line was right there. However, I did know what was up and started by asking for 911 for the city that I am in (the cell number is out of state, which makes it even stranger).

The MacMedic

My experience has been (almost 25 years in EMS and 12 years answering 911 calls as a dispatcher) is that you are still better off dialing 911 rather than calling the seve (or ten) digit number for the dispatch center. There are a number of reasons why this is true.

First, the way the cellular technology is constructed a call to 911 will take precedence over any other call coming into the system. 911 will always go through, a seven digit number may not.

Second, it is important to realize that an incoming 911 call to any dispatch center take priority over the ringing seven digit number. There may be a delay while the call is transfered but it is also likely that there will be a delay in having a seven digit phone answered as well while ringing 911 lines are answered.

Third, using a direct dial number requires that you know EXACTLY where you are to give that information to the calltaker. If you are a mile over the border into another jurisdiction and aren't aware of it the wrong services can easily be sent. Older systems that don;t read the GPS info still have some locartion information available to them. The location of the cell tower is well documented and even if you do not know exactly where you are calltakers can get a reasonable idea from the cell tower location.

Lastly, the 911 system is designed to take the guesswork and unknowns out of getting help. The idea that where ever you are you dial the same number for police fire and EMS assistance is a sound one. Having to readily have dispatch center telephone numbers for mulitple jurisdictions and know which center answers for which jurisidiction can only add to the potential confusion.

That said, VOIP does present a problem that needs a much more complete and elegant solution. It demonstrates that while technology progresses with leaps and bounds it rarely takes emergency services into account during the design phase.

For VOIP users I'll make a couple of points. First, make sure that your location information is kept up to date with your provider so that the call can be routed properly. Second, remember the limitations of the technology. A cell phone is better for calling 911 than VOIP and a hardwired landline is better than a cell phone.

Just some thoughts from the other side.

Sandra Landwehr

In my opinion, the Federal Communication Commission is to blame for the failures of Ehanced 911 (E911) systems in wireless phones.

They have remained passive in both enforcing their rules, and the time-frame for carriers to complete the E911 integration process.

To top it off, the FCC has again failed to mandate that all carriers use the same technology in their E911 systems.

Because of this, we now have two completely incompatable emergency systems for wireless 911 calling.

Verizon, Sprint and Nextel networks use the Global Positioning System (GPS). T-Mobile and Cingular/AT&T use the triangulation system.

Sandra Landwehr

In my opinion, the Federal Communication Commission is to blame for the failures of Ehanced 911 (E911) systems in wireless phones.

They have remained passive in both enforcing their rules, and the time-frame for carriers to complete the E911 integration process.

To top it off, the FCC has again failed to mandate that all carriers use the same technology in their E911 systems.

Because of this, we now have two completely incompatable emergency systems for wireless 911 calling.

Verizon, Sprint and Nextel networks use the Global Positioning System (GPS). T-Mobile and Cingular/AT&T use the triangulation system.

Cara Fletcher

I had a similar experience and my cellular phone and the GPS saved my life.Now I know how important is to have a good phone because sometimes it can save your life.

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