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9-1-1 Wants Location First

When an emergency arises there is more to getting help than calling 9-1-1. Rod Rice reports on the best way to get a rapid, efficient response.



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The first thing we think of doing in an emergency is the actual dialing of the 9-1-1 but once the connection is made do you know the limitations of the phone you’re using and do you know the first thing you need to tell the 9-1-1 operator?

“First and foremost when you call 9-1-1 give the location of where you are calling from.  That means your address, your city, the jurisdiction you’re in, even the county and any special landmarks that will help identify where you’re located at.”

Sonya Lopez-Clauson is with the Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network. She says take a moment to think about that information before you call, and if you have the option of using a landline use it.  9-1-1 gets a daily update of the locations of landlines and if your call is interrupted operators will still know the location of the call.  That is not necessarily the case with cell phones or voice over internet phones so getting the exact location first is important. Then be patient and answer all the operator’s questions.

And even though many people communicate by texting, that, says Lopez-Clauson is not yet possible with 9-1-1.

“The 9-1-1 industry across the country is working to one day help citizens to text 9-1-1, but until then it’s always easiest to just pick-up the phone and call 9-1-1.”

And 9-1-1 should only be used for emergencies. About 30% of calls are not emergencies and that just ties up the system.


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