It is time for the FCC to establish a reasonable, measurable level of location accuracy for all calls to 911, enabling first responders to locate emergency calls from wireless phones from all locations (indoors and outdoors) rapidly and efficiently. Lives are at stake.
When dialing 911, providing first responders with accurate location information is essential. In situations where the caller is unable to verbally give a location, it can mean the difference between life and death. If the call is placed indoors from a wireless phone or where GPS signals are compromised, the location information may be unreliable or inaccurate.
Consider these facts:
• The Federal Communications Commission estimates that of the roughly 240 million 911 calls placed each year, 70 percent are now placed from wireless phones. This number will only continue to grow.
• The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 38% of households in the United States are wireless-only, with no landline, and totally reliant on wireless phones during emergencies. Of the nation’s children, a population unlikely to know their location when dialing 911, more 45% are now living in wireless-only households.
As it stands today, location information for wireless calls to 911 placed from many indoor locations (schools, shopping malls, office and commercial buildings, parking garages and apartments) or densely populated urban settings is often unreliable, failing to provide accurate information about the caller’s location – vital information in life-and-death situations where every second counts.