Bulletin Staff Report
When someone dials 9-1-1 on a cell phone, the person who answers the phone may or may not be an emergency dispatcher.
“9-1-1 calls made from cell phones may or may not be received on the 9-1-1 system,” said Deedra Molotsky, communications supervisor at the Law Enforcement Center.
Molotsky said there are different “phases” cell phone providers are required to have for a call from a cell phone to “hit” 9-1-1 towers.
“If your provider has not as yet reached all of the required ‘phases,’ your call will be received on the (Law Enforcement Center) land line,” Molotsky said. She said when that happens, the call is answered by the call taker who answers non-emergency phone calls.
The call taker transfers the call to dispatch, who gathers the information and contacts the appropriate agencies, Molotsky said.
At least one company in the area has its own 9-1-1 clearance operators who take a caller’s information and then contacts the Law Enforcement Center on its land line, Molotsky said.
“Time delays are guaranteed whenever multiple operators are involved,” Molotsky said.
She said if a cell phone provider has met all the required “phases,” a 9-1-1 cell phone call will be received on the 9-1-1 system and the tower location will be displayed for the dispatcher. This will provide the dispatcher with the caller’s general location but will not provide the address, Molotsky said.
Medical calls create still another set of challenges, Molotsky said. Guardian EMS is dispatched out of Columbus, Texas. If a call is received directly on the 9-1-1 system, medical calls can be transferred directly to Guardian dispatch, Molotsky said.
“If your call is received on the land line, the (Law Enforcement Center) dispatcher must take your information and then relay that information to Guardian,” Molotsky said.
“However your call is received, the (Law Enforcement Center) dispatcher will notify any additional required agencies.”
She said it is vital that callers know their complete addresses, including numerics and street, county road or highway number. She described a recent medical call in the county. A delay was incurred in getting help to the man because his wife could not provide a dispatcher with the county road number, Molotsky said.
“Since we do live in such a large county, it would be to your benefit to be able to provide precise directions to your location and a description of your residence,” Molotsky said.