E-Comm 911 call taker Madison Sheane says knowing your building or home address, the streets or landmarks you are near and your compass directions helps her ensure you get the help you need as quickly as possible. (E-Comm 911 photo/Submitted)

74% of 911 calls are from cellphones, so know your location: E-Comm

Cell tower triangulation generally only narrows location down to the block someone is calling from

“We’re behind the coffee shop downtown.”

That’s not how you would describe your location to a taxi or delivery driver, goes the “Know Your Location” campaign from E-Comm 911. But it is the way a woman described her location to a 911 call taker after a gas explosion.

“If we can’t find you, we can’t help you,” the campaign radio ads ends.

Knowing your location is even more important when calling 911 from a cellphone, the dispatch service provider said in a release on Dec. 9.

Nearly three-quarters of 911 calls in B.C. now originate from cellphones. And while movies, social media geotagging and delivery apps that show location in real-time may make it seem like cellphones provide an exact address to 911 call takers, that is not yet the case.

“While calls from landlines give us a person’s exact whereabouts, information from cellphones is nowhere as precise,” E-Comm Director of Public Safety Initiatives Ryan Lawson said.

“Because location is determined by cell tower triangulation, it’s generally narrowed down to within a block of where someone is calling. That’s helpful, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for our staff to work with callers to find out exactly where they are so first responders can get to them as fast as possible.”

READ MORE: Talks break down between B.C.’s 911 operators, E-Comm but no job action planned

If you don’t know your exact location, 911 call taker Madison Sheane said there is other information you can provide, such as compass directions or landmarks.

“When you call 911, my job is to get you the help you need as quickly as possible,” Sheane said.

“You can help me do that faster by answering my questions, including knowing your building or home address, the streets or landmarks you are near and your compass directions.”

READ MORE: B.C. communities call for changes to ambulance response priorities

Lawson said new 911 technology being developed — the North American-wide initiative Next Generation 9-1-1 — is expected to allow for improvements in the future.

“In the coming years, we’ll see calls delivered to 911 with more precise location and additional information about the caller, the device being used and the location from which it is calling. This means call takers will spend less time trying to determine where the emergency is taking place and dispatchers will be able to make better decisions on what resources to dispatch and where,” he said.

“Until then, ‘what is your location’ will always be the first question our staff ask.”



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Vees captain David Silye reflects on a season cut short, time in Penticton

‘It didn’t feel real at all’ said Silye of the moment he learned the BCHL playoffs had been cancelled

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Kelowna Rockets?

This quiz challenges the knowledge of those who claim to be the biggest Rockets fans

12-year-old Kelowna resident celebrates birthday with help of community

The community greeted Kate Pauling with ballons, banners and gifts along her paper route on Friday

COVID-19: More infected passengers on planes flying to and from Okanagan and Kamloops airports

The BC Centre of Disease Control has identified numerous flights with COVID-19 cases

Okanagan soup canned nearly 90 years ago gets taste test

YouTube shows man taking contents from old Bulmans Cannery vegetable mix and making, eating soup

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Okanagan nordic centre loses out on 2021 nationals

Sovereign Lake near Vernon was to host 2020 Canadian championships, canceled due to COVID-19

Most Read