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Tuesday, December 14, 2021
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|Police and Fire News|
Calling 911 on your cell phone…..be aware of the limitations and What you can do
911 calls generally equate to an emergency, and prompt first responder dispatch time may be a matter of life or death. A 911 call from a landline pinpoints the call to a specific address, allowing prompt dispatch even if you do not have the ability to provide details regarding your need or even speak. We want you to be aware that today, a 911 call from a cell phone does NOT narrow your location to a specific address, which can significantly delay first responders. Technology improvements are in the works for cell phones to pinpoint locations in 911 situations similar to a landline, but those improvements aren’t in place today.
We had a recent event in the Village that paints a picture of how a cell phone 911 call can lead to confusion on the part of the dispatcher, and delay response time. Fortunately and thankfully, in this case the delays did not negatively impact the outcome.
A 911 call was placed with a cell phone in the east end of the Village, near Birmingham. The tower that picked up the call was in Birmingham, and the call was routed, as designed, to the Birmingham Police. Without going into all the details, the Birmingham dispatch routed the call to Bloomfield Hills, as the caller identified their location as being in Bloomfield Hills (and not the Village or Township). The Bloomfield Hills dispatch realized the caller was not in the City of Bloomfield Hills, but rather the Township, and the call was once again re-routed. Several minutes transpired in routing the call to the appropriate dispatch. Critical time was lost in determining where the caller was located. Technology didn’t help in this scenario, and the 911 caller was extremely frustrated.
We want, and frankly expect, the cell phone to pinpoint our location with a 911 call. Today it doesn’t; it can triangulate coordinates, which takes time, and results in only an approximate location (vs a pinpoint location with a landline). If you know what to expect when calling 911 on a cell phone, and are prepared, response time will be minimized.
1. Know the address where you are located
1. Know the city or township (not the mailing address but the municipality) from which you are calling
2. Clearly and calmly state the emergency and the assistance you need
The dispatchers are highly trained professionals who want to help. The landline call eliminates one important variable they must know….the location of the emergency. 911 cell phone technology has not yet addressed the pinpoint location element we want and need, so to help ourselves and the dispatchers, please understand the limitations of cell technology and what you can do to help the dispatchers help you: the address where you are located, the city or township from which you are calling, and your calmly stated need. Some additional information from verywellhealth.com regarding calling 911 from your cell phone is available on the Village web site.
For more information: https://www.verywellhealth.com/before-you-call-911-on-a-cell-phone-1298351
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