Millions of 911 calls continue to fail to give accurate locations of the caller to first responders and dispatchers because most 911 centers estimate the caller’s location based on which cell phone tower is in use. This may create a life-threatening delay since the cell phone tower being used could be miles away from the caller’s actual location and perhaps even in another law enforcement jurisdiction, warns CopSync, Inc., which says its COPsync911 threat-alert system reduces emergency response times.
The system, which complements the traditional 911 system, is activated by school faculty and staff or other persons under threat and sends an immediate, silent alert to other employees, the local law enforcement dispatch center and the closest patrol officers — even if they are away from their patrol car.
CopSync said an estimated 70 percent to 80 percent of 911 calls are made from cellphones, and millions of 911 calls are not providing the dispatch center accurate location information.
Inaccurate location information costs lives when minutes and seconds count. The Federal Communications Commission estimated that reducing emergency response times by one minute could save an estimated 10,000 lives each year in the US.
More than two-thirds of the 911 calls to the Delaware County, Penn., emergency center from wireless phones in September 2013 did not include accurate location information necessary to find the callers, according to data collected by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB).
“This is a growing national crisis, and we urge the FCC and carriers to work with us to adopt indoor location requirements and solve this dangerous problem,” said Jamie Barnett, former PSHSB chief and director of the Find Me 911 Coalition.
In 2011, Homeland Security Today reported, “Though approximately 88 percent of 911 call centers now have broadband capabilities, according to the National Emergency Number Association, not one of the more than 6,400 911 call centers in the United States currently has a fully functioning system in place to receive text messages, videos and photos.
“911 isnot keeping up with the way the public actually communicates,” Barnett, told Homeland Security Today at the time. “Frankly it’s not even keeping up with the way first responders themselves use communications devices.”
“The COPsync911 system uses the actual GPS location of the person sending the alert rather than the approximate location derived from cell phone towers when the actual GPS location is the best available method of pinpointing the sender’s location,” the company said in an announcement. “Moreover, since a ‘burner’ phone cannot be used to send a COPsync911 alert, the COPsync911 system significantly reduces the chance of a fake 911 alert through security best practices.
COPsync is urging K-12 schools, colleges and universities, as well as other at-risk facilities to adopt its COPsync911 threat-alert system to help rapidly and accurately direct first responders to an emergency.
“Persons under threat using the COPsync911 threat-alert system provide first responders with up-to-the-second information as to what’s occurring on scene via a ‘chat room,’” the company said.
Ronald A. Woessner, CEO of COPsync, said, “911 is a critical safety system in America, and we thank those who operate such systems and help keep our communities safe. The COPsync911 threat-alert system complements the current 911 system and enables a person under threat to be connected directly and silently to the closest patrol officers. This direct connection can save minutes when seconds count.”