WASHINGTON, D.C. — Based on information from the Federal Communications Commission, a national public safety coalition estimates that 92 lives could be saved each year in Utah if cell phone carriers had to quickly share accurate location data for 911 callers with emergency responders.
According to a press release issued on behalf of the Find Me 911 Coalition, the FCC is considering a rule that would close a loophole and require cell phone carriers to implement technology to help find most indoor callers within the next two years.
In February 2014, a Draper man dialed 911 to report he was having a heart attack, the release stated. The call was disconnected, and dispatchers were unable to locate him. When his wife returned home 40 minutes later, she discovered he had died.
“Lost time searching for 911 callers means lost lives,” said Jamie Barnett, Director of the Find Me 911 Coalition and former Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. “Based upon FCC estimates, we calculate that emergency responders could save almost one hundred lives each year in Utah. The FCC should move quickly to adopt the indoor location standards it proposed this spring and require cell phone carriers to recognize their responsibility to protect their customers and address this critical issue.”
Data released by the FCC in January 2014 found that more than one-third of 911 calls (44 percent) made from wireless phones in Utah didn’t include the location information needed to find callers. The data found that 846,090 of the 1.9 million wireless calls received in Utah emergency centers during the period from June 2012 to June 2013 lacked “Phase II” location information that displays the location of the caller.
“Carriers often cannot provide accurate location data with the 911 call because GPS takes upwards of 30 seconds to work,” Barnett said. “Worse, even after 30 seconds, the carriers’ GPS-based technology cannot reliably locate callers who are indoors, as the satellite signals may be blocked by the structure. The technology exists to address both issues while providing fast and accurate locations and the FCC’s proposed rule would make sure the carriers use it.”
Based upon statements by the FCC, the Find Me 911 Coalition, a coalition supported by more than 200,000 emergency responders and other safety advocates, estimates that scores of lives in metropolitan areas across Utah could be saved if 911 operators are given the timely and accurate location data needed to find callers in crisis.
Metropolitan area / lives saved per year
- Salt Lake City MSA/37
- Ogden-Clearfield MSA/20
- Provo-Orem MSA/18
- St. George MSA/5
- Logan MSA/4
The estimates are derived from information and statements provided by the FCC’s rulemaking on wireless indoor location accuracy (FCC Proceeding 07-114). Based on a study of mortality rates with improved 911 response times in Salt Lake City, the proposed rule stated, “If we assume that this outcome is reasonably reflective of the country as a whole, we estimate that the location accuracy improvements we propose could save approximately 10,120 lives annually, for an annual benefit of approximately $92 billion.” Using 2013 census estimates, the Find Me 911 Coalition extrapolated from those national estimates using state and metropolitan (MSA) population data to estimate the potential impact of the FCC’s proposed rule.
About the Find Me 911 Coalition
Find Me 911 is an effort supported by more than 200,000 individuals, as well as national and local organizations. The individuals and organizations represent a broad range of 911 operators and first responders – emergency medical services personnel, fire fighters and police. Find Me 911 seeks to ensure the FCC move forward quickly to establish a reasonable, measurable level of location accuracy for emergency calls made indoors, enabling first responders to locate emergency calls from wireless phones from all locations rapidly and efficiently.
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Press release submitted by Prism public affairs for Find Me 911 Coalition
Email: [email protected]
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