Location is everything for 9-1-1 calls

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“If you’re using a smartphone, Facebook and Google know where you are but your local 9-1-1 center might not.” 

Pittsburgh’s Action News 4

This has become all too familiar of a refrain on news programs. Catherine Ankney tragically passed away as her son was attempting to reach the appropriate 9-1-1 help for her. When her son Randy called 9-1-1 from his cell phone at their home, it pinged a tower in the neighboring county and was routed to the wrong county’s emergency services. It took 9 agonizing minutes for emergency services to identify his location and transfer the call to the correct county’s 9-1-1 center. In a tragedy highlighting the desperate need for new technology to upgrade our 9-1-1 infrastructure, Ms. Ankney passed away while her son tried to explain where they were located.

This family’s loss is a painful reminder of our outdated 9-1-1 infrastructure. Over 73% of all 9-1-1 calls are now made from cell phones. But often, 9-1-1 calls from cell phones can get routed to incorrect dispatch centers because the only location data provided is that of the nearest cell tower – not the caller’s actual location. As in the case of Catherine Ankney, this can have terrible consequences.

Technology has changed dramatically in the last 50 years since the 9-1-1 infrastructure was developed. Over the past 3.5 years, we’ve worked closely with the 9-1-1 community and leading tech companies to develop ways to transmit enhanced data into any dispatch center in the contiguous United States. The result is the RapidSOS Haven app, the world’s first robust data link into 9-1-1 dispatch centers, replacing a singular voice connection with a rich combination of voice, GPS location, emergency type, medical and demographic data, and universal one-way texting.

Far too often we read about tragedies like Ms. Ankney’s – RapidSOS is committed to harnessing every ounce of technology in an emergency to ensure the fastest and most effective response possible.

 

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