Information About Calling 9-1-1 from Cell Phones

What is Enhanced 9-1-1?

Enhanced 9-1-1 is the feature of 9-1-1 systems that identifies the physical address of the caller so that emergency responders can be dispatched without the caller needing to provide an address. Until recently, this feature was only available for landline phones. In California, 9-1-1 calls from cell phones were traditionally routed to the California Highway Patrol under the assumption that most cell phones were used along roadways. As cell phone use has become more prevalent, however, this is no longer true.

Wireless Enhanced 911

The Federal Communication Commission began requiring the implementation of Enhanced 9-1-1 by cell phone providers in 2000 with two phases of implementation. Phase 1 involves the routing of cell phone 9-1-1 calls based on the location of the cell tower receiving the call. Phase 2 involves the routing of the call based on the physical location of the actual cell phone through the use of GPS or other technology. Eventually, all cell phone providers will be required to provide Phase 2 capabilities, however, some providers are still in Phase 1.

Calling 9-1-1 from a cell phone at UCSC

Most 9-1-1 calls made from cell phones on campus will go directly to campus dispatch. Even if a 9-1-1 call from a cell phone is routed to another public safety answering point (PSAP), the call can still be easily transferred to campus dispatch and handled accordingly. Trying to call the UCSC Police Department's or Santa Cruz Fire Department's regular business line in an emergency delays the dispatch of emergency units, and these numbers are not monitored 24/7. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you call 9-1-1 directly from your cell phone in an emergency rather than trying to use a 7-digit number.

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