How Does 911 Find Me?

The number one most important piece of information you can have to help yourself during an emergency is your location. This may be as simple as the address of your home or more complex such the nearest access point to the trail you followed into the woods or even the nearest launch when on a lake. Knowing where you're at and being able to relay that to 911 may save a life.

What if you don't know? Modern technologies are vastly improved but still often provide generalities. All 911 calls are routed to the nearest 911 center. The information of your location is then forwarded to that center. When calling from a landline phone the name and address registered to the phone is displayed. For most homes this will be the actual address of the home but for some businesses, it may be the name and address of a parent company located at a completely different address. Cellular phones do not provide 911 with an address for the caller. Under most circumstances it will provide 911 a latitude and longitude which, during perfect conditions, may be very accurate. However, factor in things such as being surrounded by a metal car, inside a building, weather, and age or condition of the phone, the information provided by the latitude and longitude could be off significantly. It all boils down to, you, the caller.

Being aware of where you're at, staying calm during an emergency, and being able to verbalize your location to the 911 dispatcher will make the difference.