Many people no longer have a landline phone. Just about everyone has a cell phone and it seems a bit silly to also have a land line – what would you use it for? When calling 911 there are some limitations that you should be aware of. One of those issues is that emergency personnel may not be able to pinpoint your location – signals bounce off of towers….each manufactured phone is different, each community has or doesn’t have upgraded equipment to receive 911 calls.
Each carrier has a page on their website explaining the status of their 911 calling….and the Federal Communications Commission also addresses this on their site.
Buying a home? Think before you remove those old wall plates for a land line phone.
From the FCC website:
The number of 911 calls placed by people using wireless phones has significantly increased in recent years. It is estimated that about 70 percent of 911 calls are placed from wireless phones, and that percentage is growing. For many Americans, the ability to call 911 for help in an emergency is one of the main reasons they own a wireless phone.
Unique challenges posed by wireless phones
While wireless phones can be an important public safety tool, they also create unique challenges for emergency response personnel and wireless service providers. Since wireless phones are mobile, they are not associated with one fixed location or address. While the location of the cell site closest to the 911 caller may provide a general indication of the caller’s location, that information is not always specific enough for rescue personnel to deliver assistance to the caller quickly.
Tips for 911 calling
Consumers making a 911 call from a wireless phone should remember the following:
Tell the emergency operator the location of the emergency right away.
Provide the emergency operator with your wireless phone number, so if the call gets disconnected, the emergency operator can call you back.
PSAPs currently lack the technical capability to receive texts, photos and videos.
If your wireless phone is not “initialized” (meaning you do not have a contract for service with a wireless service provider), and your emergency call gets disconnected, you must call the emergency operator back because the operator does not have your telephone number and cannot contact you.
To help public safety personnel allocate emergency resources, learn and use the designated number in your state for highway accidents or other non life-threatening incidents (States often reserve specific numbers for these types of incidents. For example, “#77” is the number used for highway accidents in Virginia.)
Refrain from programming your phone to automatically dial 911 when one button, such as the “9” key, is pressed. Unintentional wireless 911 calls, which often occur when auto-dial keys are inadvertently pressed, cause problems for emergency call centers.
If your wireless phone came pre-programmed with the auto-dial 911 feature already turned on, turn this feature off (consult your user manual for instructions).
Lock your keypad when you’re not using your wireless phone to help prevent accidental calls to 911.
Consider creating a contact in your wireless phone’s memory with the name “ICE” (In Case of Emergency), which lists the phone numbers of people you want to have notified in an emergency.
Continue reading from the FCC site: