Coalition supports FCC requiring cell phone locator technology, saving lives via 911 calls

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Based on information from the Federal Communications Commission, a national public safety coalition estimates that 92 lives could be saved each year in Utah if cell phone carriers had to quickly share accurate location data for 911 callers with emergency responders.

According to a press release issued on behalf of the Find Me 911 Coalition, the FCC is considering a rule that would close a loophole and require cell phone carriers to implement technology to help find most indoor callers within the next two years.

In February 2014, a Draper man dialed 911 to report he was having a heart attack, the release stated. The call was disconnected, and dispatchers were unable to locate him. When his wife returned home 40 minutes later, she discovered he had died.

“Lost time searching for 911 callers means lost lives,” said Jamie Barnett, Director of the Find Me 911 Coalition and former Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. “Based upon FCC estimates, we calculate that emergency responders could save almost one hundred lives each year in Utah.  The FCC should move quickly to adopt the indoor location standards it proposed this spring and require cell phone carriers to recognize their responsibility to protect their customers and address this critical issue.”

Data released by the FCC in January 2014 found that more than one-third of 911 calls (44 percent) made from wireless phones in Utah didn’t include the location information needed to find callers. The data found that 846,090 of the 1.9 million wireless calls received in Utah emergency centers during the period from June 2012 to June 2013 lacked “Phase II” location information that displays the location of the caller.

“Carriers often cannot provide accurate location data with the 911 call because GPS takes upwards of 30 seconds to work,” Barnett said. “Worse, even after 30 seconds, the carriers’ GPS-based technology cannot reliably locate callers who are indoors, as the satellite signals may be blocked by the structure. The technology exists to address both issues while providing fast and accurate locations and the FCC’s proposed rule would make sure the carriers use it.”

Based upon statements by the FCC, the Find Me 911 Coalition, a coalition supported by more than 200,000 emergency responders and other safety advocates, estimates that scores of lives in metropolitan areas across Utah could be saved if 911 operators are given the timely and accurate location data needed to find callers in crisis.

Metropolitan area / lives saved per year  

  • Salt Lake City MSA/37
  • Ogden-Clearfield MSA/20
  • Provo-Orem MSA/18
  • St. George MSA/5
  • Logan MSA/4


The estimates are derived from information and statements provided by the FCC’s rulemaking on wireless indoor location accuracy (FCC Proceeding 07-114). Based on a study of mortality rates with improved 911 response times in Salt Lake City, the proposed rule stated, “If we assume that this outcome is reasonably reflective of the country as a whole, we estimate that the location accuracy improvements we propose could save approximately 10,120 lives annually, for an annual benefit of approximately $92 billion.” Using 2013 census estimates, the Find Me 911 Coalition extrapolated from those national estimates using state and metropolitan (MSA) population data to estimate the potential impact of the FCC’s proposed rule.

About the Find Me 911 Coalition

Find Me 911 is an effort supported by more than 200,000 individuals, as well as national and local organizations. The individuals and organizations represent a broad range of 911 operators and first responders – emergency medical services personnel, fire fighters and police.  Find Me 911 seeks to ensure the FCC move forward quickly to establish a reasonable, measurable level of location accuracy for emergency calls made indoors, enabling first responders to locate emergency calls from wireless phones from all locations rapidly and efficiently.


Related posts

Press release submitted by Prism public affairs for Find Me 911 Coalition

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Angel October 4, 2014 at 9:43 am

    How much of our freedom and privacy are we willing to give up for safety .
    If they can locate you with a 911 call than they can locate you with any call.
    Americans beware of large intrusive government , their motives are not always for your safety .
    As technology advances, and the more willing we are to give up privacy in the name of safety the the tighter the cocoon becomes, and one day you will wake and the government will have eyes inside our bedrooms .
    With tech they have today they can find out what party you voted for. Is that not enough to scar you. You can see how the IRS might like that, if you have been watching the news.

    • Andy October 4, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Angel, you will be voting for this service if you request 911. You are not required to use 911, in fact if you want technology out of your life you have to get off the grid entirely.

      Police and government have long had the technology to find you via “pinging” your cel phone. In the past it has merely taken longer and probably needed a warrant. Obviously, a 911 call needs a faster response. I welcome the release of this I formation for this purpose.

      • Big Deal October 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        Your a clone Andy. I guess you think it’s ok for the government to search your home without a warrant at any time for any reason? Dumb…*!
        *Ed. ellipses

        • Andy October 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm

          Wow. Way to extrapolate and make a huge illogical leap, Big Deal. There is a long way from warrant-less searches of private property (the Constitution) and a making a request for service, using 911.
          You do not need to use the 911 service, that is your choice. It would be a service to the rest of us if you didn’t, so the emergency services don’t spent too much time driving through the woods to your Ted Kaczynski-like shed.

          • Big Deal October 5, 2014 at 5:19 pm

            Wow?! You are really naïve aren’t you Andy. Restrictions and tracking always start small. Just like smoking restrictions, airport security & remote car tracking. Every time you use your cell phone its being tracked and minutes logged. I bet you think the police always get warrants for arrests too. Grow up Andy.

  • redredred October 4, 2014 at 11:11 am

    The last thing we need is more government snooping. They already record all of our phone calls text messages, and they know your typing a post on this web site. WAKE UP AMERICA.

  • Ricky MacGyver October 4, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    They don’t know where I am or if I’m typing a post to this website. In fact I am completely hidden from their, , , , hold on there is someone knocking on my door

  • Jim Rothbarth October 4, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Readers should note there is no technology available to enable cell phone location services presently that improves on GPS. Cell phone technology was never designed as a location solution.

  • Ron October 5, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    You’re not forced to have a cell phone. You’re not forced to have 911 service. You’re not forced to have any sort of phone at all. It’s a choice. As Andy says, you can get off the grid if you don’t want this stuff. You are FREE to make the choice.

    • Big Deal October 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      You really believe that don’t you Ron? Every car from 2008 on has gps tracking. So I guess if I don’t want to work, or drive or live I can choose not to be tracked? What a dumb naïve …*hole you are!
      *Ed. ellipses

      • Andy October 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm

        Maybe it is time you just straighten your tin foil hat and unplug from everything.

        • Big Deal October 7, 2014 at 10:20 am

          Andy are you 12? Because only someone that young and naive would believe everything they are told.

          • Andy October 7, 2014 at 10:38 am

            No. I’m an adult who doesn’t think that over-reaction and name calling are good ways to convince others to my point of view. I am done with you.

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