Enhanced 9-1-1 service for mobile phone users can be improved dramatically if a metro-region wide vote of the people is approved. County commissioners in Oklahoma, Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, McClain and Logan counties approved elections for Dec. 13. Voters will decide on a 50-cent monthly service fee that will help pay for necessary system improvements that will help locate callers who dial 9-1-1 from mobile phones in emergency situations.
The 9-1-1 Saves Lives Committee has begun its public education campaign and has been busy making presentations to civic groups and interested coalitions. To schedule a presentation by a member of the committee's speaker's bureau, please contact 9-1-1 staff at ACOG. The Committee is also looking for stakeholders and volunteers to assist in the effort.
The facts for voter consideration on December 13 are:
* Half of the calls coming into local 9-1-1 centers are from wireless phones.
* Wireless 9-1-1 calls often do not route to the right public safety agency, and in Oklahoma, Canadian, Logan and Cleveland Counties never provide the location of the caller.
* 95 percent of the time, callers using their wireless phones to call 9-1-1 cannot clearly articulate where they are located.
* Wireless phones are often purchased with safety in mind. But, without funding for upgrading the region's 9-1-1 system to better handle these calls, the safety net has giant holes.
* A positive vote will result in a 50 cent service fee on wireless phone bills to cover expenses of improving 9-1-1 system technologies to better handle emergency calls from wireless phones.
While mobile phones were not readily available to most Central Oklahomans when enhanced 9-1-1 service was activated in 1989, today, a substantial percentage of the regional population possesses a cell phone.
Last year, there were 338,423 emergency calls in Central Oklahoma made from approximately 780,000 wireless phones in the metro area. 9-1-1 systems were not designed to handle this emerging shift in technology, nor was the wireless industry prepared to make their phones work efficiently with E9-1-1 systems.
City and County resolutions will be made available to all ACOG member entities.
Please contact ACOG staff for more information. Public safety agencies in the state have determined through cost studies that 50-cents per month, per wireless customer, will secure the technological improvements necessary to make wireless 9-1-1 services mirror those provided to land-line customers today. As a result of citizens switching from wireline to wireless, the 9-1-1 system is losing operational resources that communities rely on to provide emergency services. Following successful elections, system improvements are expected to be complete within a year to 18 months.