Locating 9-1-1 Cell Phone Calls

Some new technology could have lifesaving results.

Kevin Terry is no stranger to many landmarks around town, because any time a cell phone user calls 9-1-1, their location is unknown to the operator.

Kevin must rely on a caller's ability to describe their surroundings, which may prove difficult at times.

Terry says, "Especially on the interstate, people usually don't know exactly where they are on the interstate."

But the stress of identifying landmarks and billboards will be a thing of the past in Lowndes County, thanks to Phase 2 Wireless 9-1-1.

Nick Lacey, Emergency Management Director, says, "When the coordinates come into the 9-1-1 Center we convert those coordinates to a street address, and that address is just like making a call with a wire line telephone. We have a very good idea where that individual is that's making that phone call."

And with more than 42,000 cell phone users in Lowndes County alone, it's now a service of necessity.

Kevin Terry, 9-1-1 operator, says, "It should at least take several minutes off our location time trying to find them and where they are and get them help faster."

It's a service with a slight cost; cell phone users will see a 50 cent surcharge increase in their monthly bill, but many cell phone users say they are happy to fork over the extra cash.

Elizabeth Bean says, "Fifty cents is pocket change. I'd rather my life be spared then throw away 50 cents on something else."

Many cell phone users agree it's a small price to pay for potentially lifesaving results. Emergency Management officials say the new technology should be up and running in six to 12 months.