With the advances in technology, it is often assumed that a 911 operator is going to know exactly where a caller is calling from regardless of what type of device he is using to make the call. That’s not necessarily so and users of the 911 system should always make it a point to know where they are calling from whenever possible.
For the traditional home telephone service users, typically when the caller makes a 911 call, the callers home address is indicated on the telephone screen for the operator however; there are cases where a person has moved and the telephone company they are using has not updated their information and may show an old address. VoIP telephone users who use their computers to place calls when they travel, often fail to remember that the address that displays for the operator is the one the caller has listed on their VoIP account, and not necessarily the location he is calling from. This is often the home address when the caller opened the account. Cellular devices may or may not indicate the caller’s location. Depending on the carrier and the device, the information displayed for a cellular user may indicate either a tower location or the caller’s location. Caller’s location may be exact or may be anywhere between 50 to 300 meters of the callers location. Location accuracy is dependent upon the carrier and the location technology they use.
This article lists only a few of the common issues regarding 911 callers location that 911 operators encounter on a daily basis. There are many other factors that can prevent an operator from being able to obtain an accurate location of a 911 caller. That being stated, it is essential that all 911 system users know the location of the emergency they are reporting whenever possible. Knowing your location may include the physical address of the emergency if known to the caller, street & cross street (street that intersects with the main street), and landmarks. Keep in mind that when calling from a business where the caller is unsure of the exact physical address, there may be more than one business in the same county with the same name and therefore providing a street, cross street, and city will also be important to the operator. Streets within the same county are also common. Knowing whether it’s a street, court, avenue, etc. can make a difference in response times.
Having accurate information from the onset of the call can have a positive impact on the call. So when calling 911, don’t make an assumption that the operator has your location information, know your location. For more information on Charlotte County 911, please visit E911.CCSO.org