Cell Phones Pose Challenges For 911 Dispatchers - WSPA.com

Cell Phones Pose Challenges For 911 Dispatchers

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Local dispatchers say they’re dealing with a major hang-up that could be costing you valuable time. Local dispatchers say they’re dealing with a major hang-up that could be costing you valuable time.
RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. -

Help is usually a phone call away.

“The most important piece information we get is: where is your emergency,” said Rutherford County 911 Communications Center Director Tammy Aldridge.

Last year, dispatchers in Rutherford County answered nearly 45,000 calls.

The majority of those received were made on cell phones, which isn’t a problem until the call is routed to the wrong 911 communications center.

According to Aldridge, it happens quite frequently in Rutherford County, which is bordered by eight other counties.

She says depending on the location of the person dialing 911 and the nearest cell tower, the call may be directed to dispatchers outside of the county where he call was originally placed in.

Rutherford County transferred more than 470 calls to neighboring 911 communications centers.

While re-routing the calls is not hard as dispatchers can do so with the press of button, the concern is how much time is being wasted.

“In a panic, they are not really listening to what we are saying,” says Aldridge, “they are just wanting to talk and tell us what's going on."

911 communications centers are currently working with cell phone providers to make sure the calls in their county are going to the right place, but officials say you can help too.

When dialing 911, make sure you listen to the operator. Also when you’re giving directions, use "cross streets" and landmarks to help identify exactly where you are located.

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