Cell Phone Mapping Helps 911 Dispatchers Locate People in Distress

The Maui News is reporting on mapping and cell phone locator technology that helps 911 dispatchers locate people in distress so that emergency crews can be dispatched to the caller’s location.

From the article —

The call came in the middle of the night, when a panicked visitor saw his friend’s car go off the road into a ditch.

“He didn’t know where he was,” said Maui police 911 dispatcher Dyann Cabreros, who handled the emergency call from the visitor using a cellular telephone who had been following his friend. “All he knew was he was in Haiku somewhere.”

Using new computer mapping technology, Cabreros tracked the caller’s location to the 2100 block of Kaupakalua Road. She quickly dispatched emergency crews to the scene of the 3:25 a.m. crash July 19.

Before the enhanced 911 system was developed, dispatchers would have to ask cellular callers for addresses or landmarks to try to determine where they were, Cabreros said.

“It would have definitely taken longer,” she said.

Last week, with the completion of testing for all five wireless carriers with service on the island, the Maui Police Department became the first in the state with the capability to identify phone numbers and locations of 911 callers using cellular telephones, said Lt. Tivoli Faaumu, commander of the police Communications Section.

Previously, he said that information could be tracked only for callers from land telephone lines, Faaumu said.

The wireless communication carriers on Maui are Nextel, Verizon Wireless, Cingular, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Source: 911 Dispatchers now able to locate people in distress