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

West Shore Rotary Club raises $20,000 with Golf Ball Drop fundraiser

Nearly 4,000 golf balls poured onto Olympic View golf course Saturday

Construction slows weekend traffic at Millstream overpass

West Shore RCMP recommend Leigh Road exit instead

TRAFFIC: Saanich emergency crews responding to Pat Bay Highway collision

Incident took place at Haliburton Road intersection

Saanich race car driver shifts gears as pandemic cuts U.S. season short

Bill Okell, 65, sets sights on Canadian racing circuit for 2020

Chorus expands online options to in-person rehearsal in Langford, Oak Bay

Free, non-auditioned SingYourJoy recruits those aged 16 to 29

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read