The only limitation is that the issue must be consistent with what the charter calls for and there are the necessary resources, expertise, and time to adequately address the issue.
A cell call location is determined by the cell tower that picked up the signal, which may be in another county or state. In rural areas, underserved with cell towers, this is a frequent occurrence sending the call to the wrong County 911 Center. It is important the caller know their precise location (including county and state) so the urgent call can be quickly forwarded to the correct 911 County call center. The FCC defines this as call misrouting and states it occurs frequently and occasionally with deadly consequences.
Always call 911 first! In the event your call is misdirected, each county has a direct line to the 911 Emergency Operations Center as follows:
As many rural homes set off the road and are in low light we recommend your house number be posted roadside at your driveway, using 4” reflective numbers. For emergency vehicles to best see them, stake them 4’-7’ off the ground. If you have already done this, be sure the numbers are not blocked by overgrown shrubbery. Because seconds count, we also recommend sending someone to wave down 911 services and clear a path to the victim in a medical emergency.
Some people have Magic-Jack or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service. These work much like cell phones and result in the same problems! Call your house phone service provider to be sure that it is a landline and not a VoIP or other Internet type phone service.
Most VoIP providers allow customers to register their physical address. This is the address that will appear to the 911 dispatcher. The FCC does not require all types of VoIP providers to comply, so we recommend you contact your VoIP provider and validate they have your current physical address registered.
The Next Generation 911 (NG911) which will provide Emergency Services Internet Protocol Networks (ESInets) is coming. By April 3, 2021, nationwide providers must achieve 50 meter horizontal accurate or provide dispatchable location for 80% of all wireless 911 calls. These are complex implementations, broken into phases with staggered achievement benchmarks, spanning 15+ years. Ultimately technology upgrades at the local 911 call centers is necessary.
For smaller communities, not as prosperous as urban areas, wireless location-based routing will lag until funding, policies and governance get worked out locally. The rural dweller needs to be prepared and ready prior to making that 911 cell call. No date is yet provided for meeting this FCC mandate for our Lake Gaston surrounding counties.
Some are aware of these challenges but, with so many issues on their agenda, issues and concerns faced by rural communities are often not of the priority we may desire. Whenever the Taskforce has an opportunity to raise these issues with elected and public officials, we take advantage of it. We encourage others to do the same.