E-911 begins phase II wireless coverage

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Barry County E-911 has started implementing phase II of wireless coverage, which will allow dispatchers to obtain a cell phone caller's name and location.

"Barry County E-911 will now be able to locate you on your cell phone," said Pat Leighter, Barry County E-911 director. "Phase II means that when you phone 911 from your cell phone it shows up on our map and we also get the latitude and longitude coordinates."

Alltel implemented phase II wireless coverage in Barry County on Sept. 23. AT&T and T-Mobile will be implementing phase II coverage within the next month or so, said Leighter.

"In the past 15 years, cell phones went from a novelty to something that everyone has," said Leighter. "We had no way of knowing where a person was when a call came in from a cell phone, but now we do. It is really exciting to see this come to life."

In order to implement phase II wireless coverage, Barry County E-911 contacted each cellular phone service company to request phase I and phase II wireless coverage. Other work was completed to install new equipment and GPS cellular sites.

"We have so many people who are just visiting or passing through our county," said Leighter. "They don't always know where they are and this should allow us to help them."

Although phase II wireless coverage will help dispatchers locate cellular phone callers, some calls made in the Eagle Rock, Golden or Shell Knob areas could be routed to Stone County 911 or another emergency service.

"Phase II will cover all of the county, but the cellular service may still take calls and throw them over to Carroll County or Stone County 911," said Leighter. "Those emergency services should be able to locate the caller too."

Calls made from cell phones are beamed to the closest tower. Individuals who are using their cell phones in Eagle Rock or Shell Knob could be closer to an adjoining county's 911 service, said Leighter.

"Unfortunately, when you live in Barry County, you are fighting the terrain," said Leighter.

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