Almost everyone has a cell phone these days. Cell phones can be a royal pain in the *^(%*^$, for sure. But, even though they can be a pain in the *()(^(^&%(, they can also be a life saver.
FCC E911 rules
The FCC requires that providers of interconnected VoIP telephone services using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) meet Enhanced 911 (E911) obligations. E911 systems automatically provide to emergency service personnel a 911 caller’s call back number and, in most cases, location information.
To reduce possible risks to public safety, the FCC requires interconnected VoIP providers to:
- Automatically provide 911 service to all customers as a standard, mandatory feature. VoIP providers may not allow customers to “opt-out” of 911 service.
- Obtain a customer’s physical location prior to service activation, and provide one or more easy ways for customers to update the location they have registered with the provider if it changes.
- Transmit all 911 calls, as well as a callback number and the caller’s registered physical location, to the appropriate emergency services call center or local emergency authority.
- Take appropriate action to ensure customers have a clear understanding of the limitations, if any, of their 911 service. They must distribute labels warning customers if 911 service may be limited or not available and instruct them to place the labels on or near equipment used with VoIP service.
- Obtain affirmative acknowledgement from all customers that they are aware of and understand the limitations of their 911 service.
- Ensure that a 911 call is routed to the appropriate PSAP in areas where emergency service providers are not capable of receiving or processing the location information or call back numbers not automatically transmitted with 911 calls.
Is what that means is that the vast majority of phones have the ability to be helpful in emergency situations. If your phone has coverage, even if you have no minutes or a current contract, you can make 911 calls. The authorities can pin point your location by having the cell company triangulate your location.
Even if you don’t have coverage E911 mandates that phones must have GPS function. Before you leave on a excursion into Nature, make sure your GPS function is enabled. Most I Phones are enabled all the time. Androids might have to be enabled. An easy way of doing that is by going to Google Maps or installing it if it isn’t and when it ask to know your location…say “yes”. That will activate your GPS. If you aren’t sure, go through the process to make sure.
If you don’t show up at home when you should and the authorities are called, they only need to ping your phone to get very close to your location. But, here’s the deal. Your phone does need to have power and be functioning. When in Nature or even driving in inclement weather, think of your phone as a survival tool. Keep it able, not out of power.
The cell phone is an amazing tool that I didn’t have growing up, but it is only a tool. It does not guarantee your survival and it does not replace having basic survival knowledge, so don’t depend on it. If you do, the authorities may be using it as a recovery tool, rather than a rescue tool.