According to the Federal Communication Commission, 10,120 lives are lost each year when mobile callers can’t be located.
Barrow County Emergency Services leaders say the department is always working to enhance the E-911 Center to try and locate callers more accurately and efficiently.
“Our department is committed to quickly responding to assist our citizens in their emergencies” said Chief Alan Shuman. “That means, when they call from a cellular device and are not sure where they are, we must utilize technology to locate them as accurately and quickly as possible.”
Over 90 percent of all 911 calls originate from cellphones, which makes location verification more difficult, leaders said. Barrow County Emergency Services now utilizes the technology available through the RAPIDSOS system.
“This system helps dispatchers pinpoint the location of 911 callers with more accuracy than the previous method,” said 911 manager William Wright. “Prior to installing RAPIDSOS we would track emergency calls through nearby cell tower transmissions, which sometimes could be miles away from the caller.”
With this technology, Barrow County 911 dispatchers can quickly access accurate location information, as well as additional caller data during emergency cellphone calls, according to a news release. This will enable the dispatches to notify first responders with more accurate location data and dispatch appropriate responders more quickly, the release said.
RAPIDSOS gives 911 dispatchers access to the Next Generation 911 Clearinghouse, which receives real-time location data from smartphones, Internet-connected cars, “wearables” such as smart watches and fitness trackers and other devices, according to the release. RAPIDSOS provides a highly accurate location feed using a variety of sensors and technology which supersede solutions used with in the telephone network, the release said. Use of the 911 clearinghouse allows 911 centers to pull together the various pieces of technology available to a caller dialing 911 from a smartphone and use them to generate a more accurate location.
“RAPIDSOS is a major advancement in the E-911 service that we provide,” said Wright. “We have some of the best Communication Officers in our department and this new technology will allow them to do their job more efficiently. They can use this technology to get the citizen help rapidly, and in an emergency, seconds can count.”