What is Wireless 9-1-1

Quite simply, wireless 9-1-1 is a 9-1-1 call placed from a wireless phone. As with landline 9-1-1 calls, there is no cost to make a 9-1-1 call from your wireless telephone. Wireless 9-1-1 calls are quite different from landline 9-1-1 calls for a number of reasons. A wireless 9-1-1 call may not be routed to the closest 9-1-1 center. Depending on your wireless carrier and handset, wireless callback numbers and locations may or may not be available to the answering telecommunicator.

What wireless carriers are operating in Tazewell County?

The following wireless carriers are operating in Tazewell County. All are providing Phase II wireless service, capable of providing the answering telecommunicator with both the wireless caller’s phone number and latitude and longitude.

  1. AT&T/Cingular
  2. Sprint/Nextel
  3. T-Mobile
  4. U.S. Cellular
  5. Verizon

Does the 9-1-1 telecommunicator know my location?

When making a wireless 9-1-1 call, always assume that the telecommunicator does not know your location. Even if your wireless phone is able to provide location information, chances are you will need to provide the 9-1-1 telecommunicator with additional location information. If you don’t know your location, look for landmarks, large buildings, street signs or paperwork nearby that may contain address information. The approximate location the 9-1-1 telecommunicator receives could be as large as 3 football fields or more. Be prepared to give specific directions to your location. Do not depend on your wireless phone to tell 9-1-1 where you are!

Does the 9-1-1 telecommunicator know my phone number?

As with location, always assume that the telecommunicator does not know your call back number. Be prepared to provide that information to them.

Why does the telecommunicator transfer my call to another agency?

Your call to 9-1-1 may need to be transferred to another agency because wireless phone calls are sent to a 9-1-1 center based on wireless radio coverage. Wireless coverage areas don’t always match political boundaries, so most calls are routed to a 9-1-1 answering point that serves the majority of the coverage area. You call may need to be transferred to the appropriate agency for the area you are located in.

What should I do if I’m cut off or my call is dropped?

Always try to call 9-1-1 back. Don’t wait for the 9-1-1 telecommunicator to contact you. They may not have received your wireless phone number in the initial 9-1-1 call and may need additional information.

Can I keep driving when I call 9-1-1 on a wireless phone?

It is usually best to pull over when calling 9-1-1 as there is less chance of the wireless phone signal being dropped in a stationary location. Additionally, any emergency instructions that need to be carried out can best be done while stopped. Finally, if help needs to reach you, it is best to be in one place so help can get to you, instead of trying to meet them somewhere. If you cannot safely pull over to speak to 9-1-1, stay calm, pay attention to the roadway and surrounding vehicles and follow the 9-1-1 telecommunicator’s instructions.

Should I program 9-1-1 or turn on my auto 9-1-1 feature on my wireless phone?

No, please don’t program 9-1-1 or use the auto 9-1-1 feature. There are numerous accidental calls to 9-1-1 from wireless phones that have this feature. The callers often don’t realize that their phone has dialed 9-1-1. Help reduce accidental calls to 9-1-1 by only calling when you have a life-threatening emergency.

Why is 9-1-1 busy when I call from my wireless phone?

This rarely happens, but when it does occur, it is usually a single incident that produces a high number of 9-1-1 calls. For example, a major accident on the interstate may result in 50 wireless 9-1-1 calls in a matter of minutes. In order to prevent overload of the entire 9-1-1 system, wireless calls do not roll from one dispatch center to another, as is the case with landline 9-1-1 calls. If you find yourself in this situation, remain calm, wait a moment and dial 9-1-1 again.

Information in part provided by the National Emergency Number Association.