Tooele First in State With Enhanced 911 Service

Tooele First in State With Enhanced 911 Service

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Sandra Yi reporting If you have a cell phone, you may have noticed it has GPS technology. But dispatchers still can't trace the call in an emergency. Unless, you're in Tooele County.

Tooele County is the first in the state to have enhanced 911 service for cell phones. That means in an emergency, they'll know exactly where you are.

Lt. Regina Dekanich/ Tooele County Sheriff's Office: "Last winter, we had a call where a gentleman called 911 on his cell phone to report he had been involved in a snowmobile accident."

The call came from Rush Valley, just south of Tooele.

911 Call: "Tis is dispatch. How can I help you?" "I'm trapped." "Trapped how?" "On a mountain." "What?"

Crews scoured the area in blinding snow.

Lt. Regina Dekanich: "We couldn't locate him. We had to activate our search and rescue team, and it took a lot of manpower hours."

It turned out, there was no injured snowmobiler. Just a drunk man, who had fallen off his porch. The incident was taxing for all involved.

Lt. Regina Dekanich: "You can see if we would have had the technology in Tooele County, how quickly we would have been able to find his location and sae a lot of time."

The county has the technology now. And it's the first in the state.

Phase 2 of Wireless Enhanced 911 technology delivers a cell phone caller's coordinates to dispatch. An icon indicates the caller's location, within 70 feet, on a map.

Sheriff Frank Park/ Tooele County Sheriff's Office: "There are a lot of dirt roads, a lot of mountains. It's beautiful out there, and we encourage recreation. But people oftentimes come out and don't know where they're at."

Lt. Regina Dekanich: "If the caller didn't know where they were, we'd have to use landmarks."

Now, there's no more guesswork.

Lt. Regina Dekanich: "It means a quicker response time and it allows us to get onto the next call quicker."

Of course, it can also save lives. You may remember last October, a Provo man called 911 saying he couldn't breathe. The dispatcher misinterpreted the address and the man died waiting for help. That would not have happened, if the call could be traced.

Other counties are working on getting this enhanced technology.

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