Location, Location, Location

Dropped Calls


How many times have you been in the middle of a phone conversation and “poof” the call is lost? It happens countless times every day for a whole host of reasons. Imagine answering a call and someone says “a house is on fire” (poof) the call is lost. Lost calls happen every day when people call 9-1-1.

Knowing there is an emergency without a location seldom results in emergency responders arriving in a timely manner. On the other hand knowing that there is a potential emergency (a lost 9-1-1 call) at a specific location is a much better position to be in. When this occurs we send a law enforcement responder to the location to investigate. Because they arrive in a timely manner and report immediately the need for other emergency responders the results for these lost 9-1-1 calls are statistically much better.

Providing Your Location


For this reason determining an accurate location is priority one in the 9-1-1 call-taking process. Similarly obtaining the callback number is priority two. With the callback number and location in hand it is much less likely that losing a 9-1-1 call will result in significant delays of the arrival of the correct emergency resources.

Finally, consider this: If an emergency suddenly occurred could you provide an accurate location when you called 9-1-1? It’s much harder for most people than you might think. Imagine, as you travel in your car, that you had to call 9-1-1 and without hesitation give the correct location. Additionally, accurately communicating numbers and street names can be much harder when someone is excited and faced with an emergency as in the following example:
  • 9-1-1: What’s the location of the emergency?”
  • Caller: “664 Vine Street.”
  • 9-1-1: “Okay you're at 664 Ninth street, is that correct?”
  • Caller: “Yes, I need...”
We do have the ability to locate wireless calls but the time delay and accuracy of those locations varies with each cell phone company. These challenges have proven that it is not only necessary for 9-1-1 to ask for the location but that it is critical to verify it by not repeating it back.