Technology has made it much easier for Nebraskans to call 911 to report an emergency immediately. But with technology comes problems. Douglas County Emergency Communication Center Director David Sleeter says people who call 911 on a cell phone must be able to give the operator important information – including location.
Sleeter says, “With a landline call we are going to get the location of that phone where you are calling from. With a cellular call, because of the issue of your cell phone being a radio and it is a radio signal that has to travel to the nearest cellular tower; there can be obstructions to that. That can be within a building and the radio signal might not get out. Being mobile. Being behind buildings and things like that.”
Sleeter says the first thing the 911 operator will ask is your location. He says that includes an intersection or a landmark so they can start pinpointing the location. He says if cell users calling 911 are disconnected the Emergency Communications Center may not be able to obtain your location. Be ready to answer a series of questions as that helps determine what equipment, response plans or manpower first responders may need. Sleeter says if you are unable to communicate effectively those in Douglas County can also send a text message to 911 asking for help.
The Douglas County Emergency Communications Center received 46,364 calls to 911 during the month of October. 30,914 of those 911 calls came from a wireless device.