Landline Telehones & 9-1-1
When you dial 9-1-1 from a landline, or a hard-wired telephone, enhanced identification information, provided by your telephone company, is sent with your 9-1-1 call to our Dispatch Center.
This information includes the name of the telephone account owner, the street address and city or township the telephone is located, and an Emergency Service Number (ESN) to determine emergency response areas and jurisdictions.
The 9-1-1 call-taker will ask you to verify this information each time you dial 9-1-1. This is to ensure the information's accuracy. If any of the information is determined to be incorrect, the 9-1-1 call-taker will instruct you to contact your telephone company to correct the information, and will submit a trouble-ticket for correction to the national 9-1-1 database.
Cell Phones & 9-1-1
Calling 9-1-1 from a Cell Phone
Cell phones bring new challenges to us all in terms of location when placing 9-1-1 calls. As you read above, when you call from a landline telephone, the telephone is in a fixed location, and therefore the address and your location are known and do not change. With cell phones, the call could be coming from anywhere, and it becomes that much more important for you to know your location!
If don't know exactly where you are, technology can help. Cellular Providers are required to provide location information with outgoing 9-1-1 calls in one of two ways:
- GPS Coordinates
- Triangulation using cellular communication towers
Using this information in conjunction with an enhanced computerized mapping system, in most cases the 9-1-1 call-taker can determine where you are calling from.
Can you TEXT to 9-1-1?
YES! In August of 2017 our Tri-County Disptach Center started accepting 911 text messages. It’s a great tool for those with a hearing impairment, because it gives them a chance to communicate with 911 during an emergency. This new feature will also help those in a critical situation, such as domestic abuse, a home invasion, or perhaps someone lost in the woods with little cell phone reception. Call if you can, Text if you can't.
Old Cell Phones & 9-1-1 Only Phones
Did you know that your old cell phones are still capable of dialing 9-1-1? Deactivated cell phones, or phones without a cellular plan are still able to dial 9-1-1. They become what are commonly known as "9-1-1 ONLY Phones." As long as the phone's battery is charged, the phone will place 9-1-1 calls. However, 9-1-1 Only Phones are not able to transmit location information with the outgoing call. Therefore, if you are using an old phone for emergency purposes only, it is extremely important that you know where you are, and are able to clearly communicate your exact location when placing a 9-1-1 call.
With the latest and greatest cell phones hitting the shelves at lightning speed, many consumers replace their current cell phone with the newest models every year or two. Most of us won't need more than one 9-1-1 Only Phone in our Emergency Preparedness kits. So what should you do with your old phones? Many cellular providers offer a recycling program for old phones. In Northern Michigan, old cell phones can also be donated to community service groups like the Women's Resource Center. Furthermore, you should not give your old cell phones to your children as play-toys. This creates problems for 9-1-1 centers when children find that their "toy" actually calls someone; your local 9-1-1 Center. These calls tie up valuable 9-1-1 lines and may prevent someone with an actual emergency from receiving the help they need quickly.