Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Background Helps Set the Scene.

Last week I shared information about the importance of knowing your location including the City when you dial 9-1-1.  Today I want to expand on this a bit more in explaining how this background information is  important in painting an accurate picture of whats going on.

When I was a kid I remember watching Bob Ross on PBS showing what seemed so simple in how to paint a masterpiece.  The one thing I remember mostly from watching him, was how he always started with the background and filled in others front items on top of those earlier layers.  One of those included him adding snow to a mountain scene.

In the same way, when you call 9-1-1, there is a lot of information that helps paint an accurate background that is just as important in sending the right resources, and getting help on the way.  

One of these items include confirming the address you are calling from.  Although it doesn't happen often, Dispatcher's estimate that about 20% of the time the address listed in the system does not match that of where you are calling from. 

A few of the reasons for this include; people who use a  VOIP, (Voice Over Internet Phone,) and have moved but not updated their address of where they have the phone registered.  When you call 9-1-1, the address listed will still be that of your last residence.  Here is the link if you have recently moved and may not have updated the information from your VOIP or Cell Phone.

Another problem that happens is that the address associated could be part of a complex. Apartment Complex's, Mall's and other type structures, usually only have one physical address, with a sub address of a unit number.   In this case the wrong unit number sometimes appears based more on the geographical area of the complex instead of actual unit layout.  

The third reason relates to cell phones.  Although there is GPS in most newer Cell Phones, the accuracy can sometimes be completely wrong or even more often, the location listed is that of the cell tower your signal may be bouncing off of instead of your actual location.  When you factor in that an estimated 65% of calls coming into 9-1-1 are now from cell phones, you can see where the possibility for confusion arises.  

9-1-1 Dispatcher's are trained and make it their goal to assist you in what could be your worst day.  It is understood that when you are calling, emotions, anxiety and fear factor into the response you give back to a dispatcher.  Just remember, even though at the time, it may seem like a waste of time, all the questions they are asking back of you are critical in painting not only the snow on that mountain, but the mountain itself!  

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