When you’re in an emergency situation, the first thing you do, of course, is call 911. But, it’s often hard to remain calm and think straight in the middle of an emergency. While it is important to explain the situation and say who you are, it’s even more important to first tell the dispatcher where you are.
It may seem like in 2017, when GPS is integrated into every device we come in contact with, that 911 dispatchers should be able to figure where we are—whether or not we actually tell them. But, that is not the case. According to the FCC, 911 calls from mobile phones pose unique challenges.
First, because cell phones are mobile, they are not associated with an exact location or address, like a landline phone would be. The location of the cell site closest to the caller can give the operator a general idea of where you’re calling from, but it’s not specific enough to send help quickly.