Oregon Pioneers More Accurate 911 Responses

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A partnership between Oregon’s 911 Program and RapidSOS, an emergency response data platform, will help first responders calling in by cell phone. Recent studies show approximately 80 percent of those needing assistance reach out using mobile phones, reports KTVZ-TV. The real-time data supplied by the RapidSOS technology via Lumen allows much more precise location data than simply pinging the nearest cell tower.

“The existing 9-1-1 system used to locate cell phone calls is over 20 years old, designed long before smartphones or GPS,” said Oregon State 911 Program Manager Frank Kuchta. “When a person calls 911 from a cell phone, the dispatcher can’t see the caller’s exact location; instead, they have to rely on the caller’s wireless carrier for the information. This data comes from a cell tower that could put the caller miles away from where they physically are, depending on several variables, including proximity to the cell tower, topography and the connecting technology,” he continued. “RapidSOS provides an extra level of value by increasing location accuracy so Oregonians can be better located in an emergency, when time matters most.”

“We’re united in our commitment to empower safer, stronger communities with intelligent, data-driven emergency response worldwide,” agreed Jessica Reed, VP of Strategy and Global Partners at RapidSOS. “Together with the state of Oregon, we’re providing people with an added layer of safety and security and supporting our heroic first responders in saving millions of lives annually.”

According to the FCC, it is estimated that an additional 10,000 lives could be saved each year with better 911 location capabilities. The 43 911 centers in Oregon report that they have already noticed an improvement in pinpointing a caller’s location. They have also noted the cost benefit of having all the data handled through one platform. 

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