“It has become essential to close the gap between Americans’ expectations of what 911 will do for them and what it can really do.”
Those are the words of the FCC’s David Simpson, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. USA Today reported earlier this year, that location services transmission capabilities when calling 911 are highly inconsistent and range dramatically from state to state. In the article a review of 911 call records, including data for seven large states and many additional cities, showed:
- In California, more than half of cellphone calls didn’t transmit location to 911 from 2011 to 2013, and it’s getting worse. Last year, about 12.4 million, or 63%, of California’s cellphone calls to 911 didn’t share location.
- Among the worst places: Silicon Valley. In December 2012, precise location was shared in 10%-37% of the area’s emergency calls, depending on the wireless carrier.
- In Colorado, 58% of the 5.8 million cellphone-to-911 calls last year transmitted coordinates, according to data obtained from the Colorado 911 Resource Center.
- In Texas, two-thirds of cellphone calls in a sample of calls from major cities – including Austin and Houston – reached 911 without an instant fix on location from 2010 through 2013.
- In the Virginia suburbs outside Washington, Fairfax County reported 25% of cellphone calls included precise location data in 2014, and Loudoun County said 29% of mobile calls did over the last six months of 2014.
This is concerning enough yet this is only half the story, because the only thing worse than no information, is bad information. USA Today reported at a point further in the article that
“even when 911 does receive a location, it’s sometimes wrong. Test calls by Gannett journalists working with 911 centers in the Denver, Washington, Minneapolis and Charlotte areas resulted in calls without location data or with coordinates that were off by hundreds of feet.””
These are both issues that have cost lives and are under review and close scrutiny by the FCC. In the design stages of our systems, we looked for the flaws, the major and minor details, the critical issues and nuances that would make the difference in succeeding or failing to provide rapid and informed responses to those desperate for help.
Our experience in managing emergency situations showed us that affected or threatened individuals panic, information flow is erratic, and technology can show it’s limits. Additionally, call response times from 911 operators, particularly during periods of high call volumes, are very inconsistent.
Our solution was therefore to make sure that every panic activation is received with a full set of background and user information. GuardianMPS uses a network of Central Station Monitoring partners with trained attendants managing alarms…and we TRULY BELIEVE THIS MAKES A VITAL DIFFERENCE!
- “911 calls are queued”-GuardianMPS have a network of Central Station Monitoring facilities directly connected 24/7/365 to your data. Your alert will NEVER be queued.
- “911 might not have location data”-GuardianMPS smartphone users will transmit regular GPS locations to aid tracing.
- “911 have to build a profile of the caller”-GuardianMPS already stores essential information about the user, their last activities and their location.
- “Users needing help panic”-GuardianMPS trained attendants can inform 911 centers with calm, clear and accurate background on the user’s situation.
- “911 has no first hand information”-GuardianMPS Servers have audio recordings of all logged activities, check-ins, even risk assessments. Our trained attendants will use & play these back when escalating to 911 centers.
- “When calling 911, only busy and stretched emergency crews can assist”-GuardianMPS operates a multiple contact style of emergency response, so where appropriate, safe or requested an organization can deploy a nearby co-worker or other designated respondent to aid an affected worker – with escalation to 911 at any stage if required.
GuardianMPS supports 911 centers through escalation, false alarm filtering, and comprehensive data availability for every protected user. 911 will soon benefit from much closer and more accurate location data through new FCC standards like E911, but in the meantime we’ll be putting the GuardianMPS to good use to help them out where we can.
If your organization would like a short webinar demonstration or more information on GuardianMPS or perhaps you have an issue you think we may be able to help you with.
The USA Today article can be read in full here.