Why Calling 911 Isn't Enough

WHY CALLING 911 ISN'T ENOUGH.

According to a study by USA Today, in over 50% of cellphone calls to 911, the caller’s location wasn’t transmitted and therefore could not be determined.

It is a common misconception that 911 dispatchers have the technology to pinpoint a caller’s exact GPS location. Since 911 systems were designed before cellphones, they are only guaranteed a way to get your location when the call is made via a landline telephone.

If you call 911 from your cellphone, a dispatcher cannot immediately see your location; it doesn’t just pop up on their screen telling them where you are. 

Once a call comes in, a request is sent to the cellphone’s network asking for the user’s location. Sometimes a location is sent back right away. Other times a location will never be determined. Even attempts to find someone by estimating their location based on the closest cell phone towers can come up empty.

It’s crazy to think that apps like Uber and Lyft can know your exact location, but 911 and emergency services may not ever be able to determine where you are without you explicitly telling them.

tinySOS wanted to make that a problem of the past.

When we started developing tinySOS, we wanted to not only create a system that allowed someone to call for help quickly and easily, but also a way to transmit their exact location.

Now, with just the click of a button, you can send your GPS location to your family and friends. In addition, our technology makes it easier for you to call 911 (as well as the police in over 200 countries and territories). That way, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t pull out your phone to make a call, your contacts can inform the police of your exact location. No more waiting for responses from cellphone networks!

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