Over 75% of all calls to 9-1-1 are made using a cell phone, which is very different from using a landline. It is important to be aware of information that applies to cell phones to help you be better prepared in the event you need to dial 9-1-1.
- Keep abreast of your location at all time. Cell phone location technology has not yet been perfected and dispatchers may not be able to locate you, especially if using a deactivated phone. Be prepared to give the exact location of the emergency to dispatchers. A physical address is best, but in lieu of that, provide directions from the nearest intersection or commonly known landmark.
- Be aware of reception problems. Cell phones are basically radios, using radio frequency (RF) to transmit your call to a cell phone tower. If you are not in adequate range of a tower, reception can be full of static, cut in and out, and sometimes calls are even dropped. If your call is dropped or you lose connectivity, call 9-1-1 again.
- Be aware of background noises. If outside, wind, passing vehicles, train horns and other noises can hamper communications. Speak clearly, calmly, and directly into the cell phone to make communicating as efficient as possible.
- Your call may not necessarily connect with a cell phone tower in the county or area you are in. Be prepared to give full directions including city and state to the dispatcher.