ATLANTA — Verizon Wireless has become the first wireless provider to offer Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) service to its customers in the complete Metropolitan Atlanta area. The service, available in Catoosa, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Jasper, Paulding, Polk, Rockdale and Walton counties, gives local emergency operators the number and general location of callers dialing 9-1-1 from a wireless phone.
"We have significantly improved the ability of wireless callers dialing 9-1-1 in the Atlanta area to provide dispatchers with accurate information," said Gordon Cook, executive director of network engineering, Georgia Region. "The E9-1-1 system provides dispatchers with a call-back number and approximate location of the caller, assisting them in sending the appropriate help more quickly and efficiently."
Previously, 9-1-1 operators had to obtain location information verbally from callers who dialed in on wireless phones - which could mean serious delays in response time if the caller was unfamiliar with the area or was injured or hurt. Now, the 9-1-1 operator will have near-instant access to this information so local police, medical personnel and fire departments can respond more quickly to the thousands of callers annually who dial 9-1-1 from wireless phones.
The E9-1-1 system works on a network upgraded with special routing and locating capabilities. When a caller dials 9-1-1 from a wireless phone, Verizon Wireless' network uses location identifying-technology to determine the specific cellular tower and antenna that is serving that caller. This information is sent to a database, which then routes the call to the closest emergency operator within seconds. The receiving operator's computer screen displays the caller's phone number and general location based on the coverage area of that cellular tower and antenna combination.
According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry, more than 98,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls are made from wireless phones every day, totaling more than 35 million calls annually. Thirty-five percent of wireless subscribers report they have used their phones in emergency situations. During July, approximately 15,000 emergency 9-1-1 calls came in from Verizon Wireless customers in the Atlanta area alone.
Verizon Wireless suggests customers use their wireless phones responsibly and make sure everyone in the family, including children, know how to dial 9-1-1 and press the send button to call for help from a wireless phone, as in the case of an accident, the primary wireless phone user may be unable to initiate a call.
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 25 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. and GTE Corp --now Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) -- and Vodafone Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. The new company has a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.