911 centers don’t know your location

911 tip

A page devoted to 911 wireless services on the F.C.C.’s website explains the challenge of handling emergency calls from wireless phones instead of wired landlines. The agency notes that because “wireless phones are mobile, they are not associated with one fixed location or address” like landlines. While the mobile phone can provide the location of the nearest cell tower, those coordinates may not be specific enough for a 911 dispatcher to use for directing a responder.

When calling 911 from a wireless phone, be sure to give your exact location and phone number immediately in case you are disconnected.