ATLANTA, June 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alpharetta Department of Public Safety and LaaSer Critical Communications (http://laaser911.com/) have kicked off a pilot program to showcase the lifesaving potential of LaaSer's caller location technology. The program will deploy the technology at the public safety answering point (PSAP) that serves both Milton and Alpharetta, Georgia.
"It's an unfortunate irony that while cellphones make it easier than ever to call 911, operators are having a harder time finding those callers," says LaaSer CEO Fred White. "The nation's 911 systems were designed for a landline world, and the infrastructure simply hasn't evolved at the same pace as mobile phone technology. At LaaSer, we've developed a solution that integrates with the existing systems of carriers and PSAPs while leveraging mobile handsets' advanced capabilities like WiFI, GPS, Bluetooth, and more."
The tragic case of Shanell Anderson was a significant inspiration for LaaSer CEO Fred White and his team to engineer a solution to help improve the nation's emergency response system. Anderson's SUV left the road and entered a pond in Cherokee County, a county north of Atlanta that borders Alpharetta. Her frantic call to 911 was routed to the Alpharetta PSAP, instead of the Cherokee County PSAP, and the operator could not immediately map out the call location to figure out who should dispatch help. Rescue teams were therefore delayed in reaching Anderson's sunken vehicle, not arriving to her location for almost 20 minutes — too late to be able to save her.
White remarks it's fitting that this latest pilot program includes Alpharetta: "Shanell Anderson's story has become a symbol for the issues with 911 mobile location. It's heartening to see improvements happening in the very area where her tragedy occurred. Unfortunately, her tragedy was not an isolated incident. People are impacted every day by inaccurate or missing caller location data when they call 911."
An estimated 70-plus percent of 911 calls are now placed with cellphones. And data from jurisdictions across the country show that the chances of an operator getting the right location information for these calls in a timely manner is as low as 10 percent.
"When a citizen calls 911 from their mobile device, the Communications Officer's computer requests information from the cell network," explains Carl Hall, Division Chief, Technology Division, Alpharetta Department of Public Safety. "That process could add seconds or minutes to the task of precisely locating the caller. And the data might be off by hundreds of feet. Sometimes, no useful information comes back at all. In an age when Google, Facebook and every app on your phone can tell where you are pretty well, there's no reason why our 911 centers shouldn't be capable of the same."
The FCC has been clear in demanding that wireless carriers proactively address this issue. By 2021, the commission wants at least 80 percent of 911 calls from mobile devices to provide better mobile location data (uncertainty of less than 50m). And since more and more households are abandoning landlines, this challenge only grows.
Trimming average emergency response times by just 60 seconds could save over 10,000 lives, according to FCC estimates. And LaaSer has already demonstrated in communities around the country that it can deliver that kind of savings. Over the next year, first responders and dispatchers in Alpharetta and Milton will have the privilege of seeing this smart, seamless technology in action.
About the Alpharetta Department of Public Safety
It is the mission of the Department of Public Safety to enhance the quality of life for those that live, work and play in the City of Alpharetta.
About LaaSer Critical Communications, LLC
LaaSer Critical Communications, a Techstars company, is dedicated to solving the problems associated with calling 911 from mobile devices. LaaSer has created patented technology that pinpoints a 911 caller's location, using any mobile device, efficiently routes them to the appropriate 911 call center, and provides the 911 operator with precise location information. LaaSer's technology requires no upgrades on the part of 911 call centers or network operators.
Jon Harmer, CMO
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SOURCE LaaSer Critical Communications, LLC