FRAMINGHAM, Mass., April 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Everyday, 9-1-1 telecommunicators overcome obstacles and save lives. In honor of National 9-1-1 Education Month, held each April, Smart911 urges all citizens to learn about our country's 9-1-1 system and how, despite its age and limitations, 9-1-1 call takers are still able to accomplish their goal of being public safety's critical first line of response.
The United States' 9-1-1 system is almost 50 years old. 80 percent of the estimated 240 million 9-1-1 calls each year are from mobile phones. However, the existing 9-1-1 system was built to support landline phones only. Mobile 9-1-1 calls are creating significant challenges for a 9-1-1 call taker when he or she is trying to save a life. By understanding how the 9-1-1 system works, specifically with mobile phones, the public can greatly help 9-1-1 to be more effective in helping them during an emergency. To be better prepared during their next emergency situation, Smart911 encourages everyone to learn the following points during 9-1-1 Education Month:
- MYTH: 9-1-1 can see my exact location, just like on TV.
- FACT: 9-1-1 can locate a mobile phone to only within 100 yards, and only 60 percent of the time. If a caller is in a multi-level building, 9-1-1 cannot detect on which floor the person is. Also, should the call disconnect before a location is determined, the call taker must then contact the mobile carrier, via fax, and solicit the mobile carrier's help in gaining approximate location data, which they can do for only 80-90 percent of calls. This is why 9-1-1 call takers immediately ask for the caller's location.
- MYTH: I can send text/SMS messages to 9-1-1, and even send photos.
- FACT: Text to 9-1-1 is only available in limited areas of the country. The vast majority of 9-1-1 call centers are not equipped to receive multimedia information, such as photos or videos.
- MYTH: If I call 9-1-1 by mistake, it is best to hang up.
- FACT: A telecommunicator is required to confirm the nature of each and every call to 9-1-1 and verify if there is a true emergency situation. Recently, accidental calls have become a major burden on 9-1-1 call centers as time and resource must be spent confirming the nature of the call, versus assisting with genuine emergencies. Last year, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management announced a dramatic spike (28 percent) in 9-1-1 calls in 2014. Working with Google, the city learned that 30 percent of that increase were pocket dial calls. This problem is widespread throughout the U.S.
Despite these challenges, 9-1-1 call takers continue to go above and beyond in helping strangers during their worst hour. All throughout 9-1-1 Education Month and in recognition of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week (April 10-16), Smart911 encourages the public to honor our nation's unsung, public safety heroes, by saying 'thank you' in the following ways:
- Please visit www.smart911.com/thankyou911 and view the video about 9-1-1 dispatchers. Those who leave a comment, will be entered to win a prize. Be sure to share the video and thank a dispatcher on social media, using #ThankYou911.
- Register or update your free Smart911 Safety Profile at www.smart911.com, by April 30, 2016 – Smart911 Day. More information about Smart911 Day and how to thank a telecommunicator may be found here: www.Smart911.com/Smart911Day
"Every April, we celebrate 9-1-1 Education Month to recognize our nation's telecommunicators for the heroic jobs they do everyday in their communities," said Tom Axbey, chief executive officer of Rave Mobile Safety, makers of Smart911. "We encourage everyone to educate themselves this month about 9-1-1 and the amazing feats of compassion and persistence our call takers accomplish in saving lives. Most people are unaware of the pressure call takers are under and the tremendous challenges they face every day. We are honored to work with them and help them through Smart911."
Currently available in 40 states and more than 1,500 municipalities, Smart911 allows citizens to create a free Safety Profile online for their household that includes information they want 9-1-1 and response teams to have during an emergency, such as their address, medical conditions, pets, etc. When an emergency call is made, a citizen's Safety Profile is automatically displayed to the 9-1-1 call-taker. Last year, 25 million 9-1-1 calls were assisted by Safety Profiles. All information is kept private and secure, only appearing when the associated number calls 9-1-1.
In addition to Safety Profiles, Smart911 enables public safety answering points (PSAP) to receive detailed information about commercial facilities, including floor plans and access codes (Smart911Facilities), as well as gain more precise location data on callers using smartphones (Smart911Location). 9-1-1 dispatchers may also use the platform to initiate SMS/text messaging sessions with citizens through the Smart911Chat feature.
About Rave Mobile Safety
Rave Mobile Safety is the most trusted safety software partner, providing innovative communication software for better emergency preparedness and faster response. Used by leading education institutes, enterprises and state and local public safety agencies, the award-winning portfolio of Rave Alert, Rave Guardian, Eyewitness, Rave Panic Button, Smart911 and SmartPrepare protects millions of individuals. Rave Mobile Safety is headquartered in Framingham, MA. For more information, please visit http://www.ravemobilesafety.com.
Public Relations for Rave Mobile Safety
LEWIS Global Communications
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