Calling for Help From Anywhere

By: Meryl Conant
By: Meryl Conant

Big brother is watching you. Well, maybe not totally, but some new technology is letting someone find you, no matter where you are.

All new cell phones now are supposed have a GPS chip that just might save your life.

And some valley emergency call centers are now equipped to handle that call.

When you call 911 you want them to find you- fast. But if you dial from a cell phone that could be tough.

"It's almost like a needle in a haystack," said Gary Critzer, the director of Waynesboro's emergency services.

That's because they only used to see what tower your cell was using.

"It could be 5to ten miles in a cone-shaped radius," Critzer said.

Now emergency dispatchers in Waynesboro can pinpoint your location.

"It will allow the e-911 center to within 10 to 15 meters know where you are when you're making that call," said Mike Minnis of NTelos.

Older cell models don't have quite that same specificity.

So no matter what- dispatchers say you should always make sure to give them as much information as possible.

But the new technology can give you a sense of security.

"If they dial 911 from a cell that has that capability we will be able to tell where they are calling from we can send them help if they can’t communicate with us," Critzer added.

Right now Waynesboro only has this capability from NTelos and Verizon cell phones.

However, Critzer expects to have full coverage at the end of the month.

Augusta County is slightly more ahead and can locate most cell phone calls.

The county plans to have this phase completed next month.

Staunton does not yet have this capability but hopes to by the end of this year

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