911 calls from smartphones giving wrong info, says FCC

Nate Swanner - Jul 10, 2014
911 calls from smartphones giving wrong info, says FCC

Calls made to 911 from a wireless device may not be as accurate as they need to be. A new study shows that roughly 10% of calls made to 911 from mobile phones in Washington D.C. have the necessary data for responders to help those in need. Just over 385,000 calls were made to 911 from mobile devices, with just shy of 40,000 having the right information.

The information needed by 911 dispatchers come sin two forms. Phase I information contains the ping from the nearest cellular tower. Phase II information gives the authorities your actual longitude and latitude. It’s Phase II information that’s missing, leaving responders with a general idea of where you might be, but not an accurate picture.

The FCC isn’t stopping there, though. The agency also wants cellular providers to make known your vertical location. With that, responders can identify which floor you’re on in a building, letting them locate and assist faster. A long-term goal is to have more detailed info so those trying to help you out of a jam can find your exact location within a large office or home.

The FCC is also asking carriers to send information faster. They believe a properly working wireless 911 system can save as much as 10,000 lives annually.

Source: FCC

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