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Cell Phone or Home Phone - Which One Do I Use In An Emergency?

2/28/2020 (Permalink)

This is a picture of a land line phone Does it matter which phone you use when making a call to 911?

In the event of an emergency, we have been told to call 911.  This patches us through to our local emergency responders who are dispatched to a specific location.  But with the introduction of cell phones into our daily lives in the 1980’s, a crinkle was added to the 911 dispatch system. 

Previously, all 911 calls coming from cell phones were automatically routed to the California Highway Patrol 911 dispatch centers, which overloaded the call centers and slowed down responses to potential victims.  Now cell phones use either GPS or cell tower triangulation so that a dispatch center can be identified and the call is routed to the proper location. 

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) does have jurisdiction over state freeways and handles emergency calls on these roadways.  So some cell calls made from city streets that are near a freeway will be routed to the CHP.

One way to ensure that a 911 operator can pinpoint your location is to use your landline to make a 911 call whenever possible.  A landline is plugged into a specific address, so an Emergency Response Team will know exactly where to respond. 

However, if you find yourself in an emergency situation and you only have your cell phone, use it to call 911.  Your call will be routed to an emergency response team who will send help to your location no matter how you place your call.

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