Americans Worked, Paid Taxes, and Died Needlessly – 911 System Fails Us in 2015! – Why?
On Monday February 23, 2015, USA Today published an excellent Investigative Report on the failures of America’s 911 “system” to save us. It begins with:
“As water filled her sinking SUV, Shanell Anderson did what anyone would do. She tried the doors. They wouldn’t budge. She dialed 911 on her cellphone, telling the operator exactly where she was.
Anderson, 31, was delivering newspapers near Atlanta around 4 a.m.that day in late December, so she knew the cross streets, even the ZIP code. She repeated her location over and over, but it didn’t help. Because Anderson’s call was routed through the nearest cellphone tower to a neighboring county’s 911 system, the dispatcher couldn’t find the streets on her maps. Worse yet, the system couldn’t get a fix on the cellphone’s location before the call ended.
In the agonizing final seconds of the call, Anderson’s words are muffled by the sounds of pond water. The dispatcher asks for the address again, then utters, “I lost her.”
It took 20 minutes for rescuers to get to Anderson and pull the 31-year old suburban Atlanta woman from her car, barely alive. She died a week and a half later in the hospital. Her 911 call is one of millions that fail to give police, fire and ambulance dispatchers a quick fix on location, a technology shortfall that can leave callers like Anderson in grave danger….”
“Your chance of 911 getting a quick fix on location ranges from as low as 10% to as high as 95%, according to hundreds of pages of local, state and federal documents obtained and reviewed by USA TODAY and more than 40 Gannett newspapers and television stations across the country….”
“The quest to make cellphone calls to 911 more useful to emergency crews began in the mid-1990s. The FCC set a deadline: Two-thirds of cellphone calls would transmit location to 911 by 2002. That rule was written when cellphone calls were mostly made outdoors, and the industry says it can meet the goal when applied only to outdoor calls. The deadline got pushed back several times since then….”
“An estimated 10,000 people each year would be saved with accurate location standards from indoor cellphone calls,” Molitor wrote, citing an FCC estimate for the number of lives that could be saved by a one-minute reduction in emergency response times. “Whatever hang-ups they have cannot be more important than 10,000 lives.”
The 911 Timeline of Hope
March 27, 1997 Briefing to NHTSA Administrator Dr. Ricardo Martinez, Emergency Physician. See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/MartinezBriefing3-27-97.pdf
1999 Based in part on that research, the Wireless Communicationsand Public Safety Act of 1999, became law and specified 9-1-1 as the “universal emergency telephone number.” As we wrote in our NHTSA published paper:
“The Act, based in part on the research findings reported herein, states that “emerging technologies can be a critical component…to reduce emergency response times and provide appropriate care”.