HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- When you call 911, first responders want to get to you as quickly as possible, but there is something you may or may or not be doing that could delay crews response times.
Dispatchers are often the first ones to hear your emergency and this week, the Harrisonburg Rockingham County Emergency Communications Center is pushing the "Help Us Help You" campaign in an effort to better locate 911 callers, especially those who call with a cell phone.
"Newer phones have a more upgraded GPS system in them, but they have to be activated," said Mark Monger, a shift supervisor for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham ECC.
When the center receives a call from a cell phone, the data could be a block away from the caller's actual location.
"It gets difficult to find callers," said Monger.
With 75 percent of incoming calls coming from cell phones, ECC communicators are taking extra steps to make sure they can get that exact location. They remind people to use landmarks or even nearby mailbox numbers when they're calling.
Kelly Roysten, a senior dispatcher, remembers one particular 911 hang-up call.
"Heard some scuffling in the background, just didn't seem quite right," said Roysten.
She tried calling back, but because it was from a cell phone only a general area came up on the map.
"The female answered saying I need help. It was a domestic situation. I just advised her to stick the cell phone in her pocket once she gave me the address," said Roysten.
People from the Harrisonburg Rockingham County ECC will be at the Valley Mall beginning April 18 to help teach kids what they should say when they call 911.
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