APCO lauds E9-1-1 deployments
APCO lauds first wireless E9-1-1 location technology deployments The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO) released a statement on Jan. 4 “applauding” Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless for their work in launching the nation’s first deployments of wireless E9-1-1 Phase II location determination technology systems. Sprint PCS deployed its system on its network in the state of Rhode Island, and Verizon Wireless marked deployments in St. Clair, IL, and Lake County, IN.
“We are pleased to see these carriers deploying this life-saving technology,” said APCO President Glen Nash. “The dependence of our citizens on their wireless phones for contacting help in an emergency makes this technology critical. We urge all wireless carriers to get implementation under way throughout the nation without delay.”
The deployments come in the wake of the FCC’s Oct. 1, 2001, deadline for compliance with its Docket 94-102, which mandates that location and phone number information similar to that transmitted with wireline enhanced 9-1-1 calls also be transmitted with wireless 9-1-1 calls. Currently, most of the nation’s wireline 9-1-1 calls send the phone number and phone subscriber’s address to a public safety answering point, that information can be vital if the caller is unable to speak or otherwise communicate effectively with a PSAP call taker.
“More than 139,000 calls to E9-1-1 are made each year from wireless phones,” said Charles E. Levine, Sprint PCS president. “This solution offers Sprint PCS customers in Rhode Island tremendous benefit in times of their greatest need—when calling 9-1-1 in their Sprint PCS phone.”
Until now, cellphones had no way of being identified by emergency dispatchers and therefore, dispatchers had no way of finding a caller. During a traumatic situation, emergency dispatchers depended on cellphone users knowing their own location and being able to clearly communicate their position. In some areas, as much as 50% of the 9-1-1 calls that local emergency response agencies receive come from wireless phones. Until the Rhode Island, Indiana and Illinois deployments, those calls did not transmit precise location data anywhere in the country and transmitted phone number information only in certain locations.
“This implementation is a major milestone in our ability to save lives,” said Norman H. Forshee, executive director of the Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB). “For the first time, PSAPs will receive precise location data of the wireless caller, allowing help to be sent more quickly and efficiently. There have been many technological challenges in deploying the Phase II service. Only through the commitment of all of the parties involved have we been able to reach this incredible accomplishment. I hope this demonstrates to everyone in public safety and industry that Phase II is a reality.”
“We are proud to take part in St.Clair County’s efforts to ensure the best possible emergency services to its citizens,” said George Heinrichs, CEO of Intrado. Intrado provides services that route the 9-1-1 call to the appropriate and provides for the successful delivery of the wireless caller’s x,y location coordinates to the PSAP. “This is just the beginning of a process we are joining in with communications carriers and public safety agencies across the country that will have a major impact on public safety.”