Service provides way to locate cell phone users calling 911

A new service will provide more safety to cell phone users calling 911.

DETCOG announced the certification of the Phase Two Enhanced 911 Wireless Services on Friday. The service require the wireless carriers provide not only the phone number of the wireless handset being used, but also its location generally to within 150 to 900 feet depending on what type of technology is being used.

"911 callers will still need to be prepared to give their call-back number and location to the dispatcher," said Executive Director, Walter Diggles.  "Help can get to you faster if they know something about your specific location and not have to search an area for you."

The upgrade of the region's 911 system was necessitated by the shift from land line to wireless phones.  Sixty five to seventy percent of the 911 calls in the region in 2008 were from cell phones.  The region has lost nearly 12,000 land line phones in the past three years.  The Texas Legislature specifically provided the funding for the upgrades in the state's 2008-2009 budget.

"We upgraded the equipment in the sixteen Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) in DETCOG's region this past year.  Then it was a matter of working with the public safety agencies, seven wireless carriers, technology vendors, equipment manufacturers, and local wire line carriers as they installed and tested the necessary technology to make it work," Diggles said.