911 Calls & Mobile Phones

More Americans communicate on the go than ever before, and going mobile has affected how emergency phone calls are handled.

Consumer Reports magazine says about 60% of emergency calls now come from mobile phones.

The Federal Communications Commission says it’s more like 70%.

In the Marquette County area, the response time to a 911 call from a cell phone depends on which wireless provider you use.

Cpl. Errol Lukkarinen with Marquette County Sheriff’s Department Search & Rescue says dispatchers can usually pull a GPS coordinate from your phone, which is then used to determine your location.

But he says at least within Marquette County, phones from some wireless providers generate much more accurate GPS coordinates than others.

Cpl. Lukkarinen says GPS coordinates from some wireless networks are accurate to within about 100 feet, while coordinates from other networks can’t get any closer to you than a couple of miles.

The less accurate the GPS coordinates are, the longer it’ll take first responders to reach you and help you.

The Sheriff’s Department did not want to reveal on camera which cell providers are better or worse for 911 calls than others, but they say you can call them at (906) 225–8435 to ask them about it.

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