Advertise Follow Us
You're working alone. You’re hurt. Nobody is around to help you. You need an ambulance, so you pick up your cell phone and dial 9-1-1.
In an emergency, calling for help with your cell phone might seem simple – just dial 9-1-1, explain the problem and tell the dispatcher to “send an ambulance.” But cell phones don’t work the same way as regular home or business phones that are part of an enhanced 9-1-1 system. When you call from a regular phone — in a home, barn or business — the address you’re calling from shows on the screen in the 9-1-1 dispatch center. Even if you’re unable to speak, they know where to find you.
Not so with a cell phone. The dispatchers won’t have a clue where you are unless you tell them. Often, your call is answered as much as 100 miles away from your location, then routed to the nearest emergency center. That’s why it’s important that you know your location.
So you are aware of the process, the dispatchers below have offered explanations and tips.
“Each county in Texas has a central 9-1-1 answering point,” explains Sue Scrivener of the Texas Highway Patrol. “If the caller is out on the road or in rural areas, the call goes to this central answering point, then is routed to the closest agency.” In the future, she says, there will be Global Positioning System devices for cell phones, which can track the caller’s location. “But…