Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Know Your Location When You Call 9-1-1

When you call 9-1-1 with your cell phone, there is no guarantee that your call will go to the correct 9-1-1 call center, especially along the Columbia River.

When you call 9-1-1 on your cell phone your call is being sent through a cell phone tower - usually one that is in close proximity to your location.  The 9-1-1 center your call is routed to is based on the location of that cell phone tower.

Sometimes the tower your 9-1-1 call is sent through is in a different county.  In Clark County if you call from or around the Columbia River the tower sending your call through may be in Multnomah or Columbia counties.  If that happens then your 9-1-1 call will be answered by Portland 9-1-1 or Columbia 9-1-1.

It is very important to understand that you MUST know where you are, so if you do get routed to the incorrect 9-1-1 center the call taker will know where to transfer you to get the best and quickest help.  And since many addresses involve streets that can also exist in nearby counties, give your city in addition to your street address.

Even if your cell phone is GPS enabled Dispatchers do not receive exact address information from cell phone callers.  Location information received by a 9-1-1 center from a cell phone can range in accuracy so do not assume the call taker can find you through your cell phone's GPS.

Generally the 9-1-1 calls are routed correctly, however cell phone calls are transferred to other 9-1-1 centers every day.  

Two basic reminders.....
  • Know your location when you call 9-1-1
  • If you call from a cell phone give your street address AND your city.

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