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About Wireless 9-1-1 Calls

Locating YOU while you're on your cell phone.

APCO International, through its Project LOCATE, has been at the forefront of wireless 9-1-1 regulatory and legislative issues. Project LOCATE was established to help local public safety communications providers bridge the technology and regulatory gap, and to speed up the process of implementing location-determination technology on a local level.

The regulatory and legislative process is long, but APCO understands your expectations when you call 9-1-1 from a wired phone or a cell phone. Calling 9-1-1 from a wired phone is not the same as calling from a cell phone. When you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone, your location information may not be available to the dispatcher in the area from which you are calling or the cell phone you're using may not be equipped with location technology.

Before you buy a cell phone, there are a couple of things you should find out:

  • Ask the dealer about the location technology it uses.
  • Check to see if the 9-1-1 center(s) in your area can receive location information.

Not all wireless 9-1-1 calls provide location information.

To get help quickly, be ready to answer these questions:

  • Where is the emergency? Use highway name, direction of travel, mile marker, intersection, landmarks, the city, etc. of where the event occurred.
  • What number are you calling from? Always give your area code and wireless phone number.
  • What exactly has happened? Clearly describe what has taken place:
    • What is on fire?
    • Is the person conscious and breathing?
    • Is the person visibly injured?
    • Type and number of vehicles involved.
    • If reporting a crime, vehicle and suspect descriptions are important.

If using a phone without a service contract and the call is disconnected, you MUST redial 9-1-1.

Things you can do to help:

  • Learn the non-emergency telephone numbers to reach help in your area.
  • Refrain from programming your phone to automatically dial 9-1-1 when one button is pressed.
  • If your wireless phone came with a preprogrammed, auto-dial 9-1-1, disable it.
  • Lock your keypad when your phone is not in use to avoid accidental 9-1-1 calls.