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Letter: 911 calls

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

As detailed by a Deseret News report, “One-third of Utah 911 cellphone calls don't have accurate location information.” Over one-third of 911 calls made from wireless phones in Utah don’t include location information needed to find callers. The problem is that the GPS system that most cellphone carriers use is weak, making it difficult to find someone when a call is made inside a building. Even more concerning is that out of more than 240 million 911 calls made each year, 70 percent are wireless and almost 60 percent are made indoors. That means that your cellphone is basically worthless in an emergency.

It’s frightening that emergency responders might not be able to find us in an emergency. A new rule from the Federal Communications Commission would help. The rule would require wireless phone carriers to provide location data accurate to 50 meters within 30 seconds of a dispatcher picking up a call. If this lifesaving regulation is approved, 80 percent of all cellphone calls to 911 would satisfy the rule and many lives would be saved.

Dan Murphy

Sandy

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