Seeking to ensure that all 9-1-1 calls receive a fast and complete response, County Supervisor Don Knabe has called for a report looking at the issues surrounding cell phone- and Internet-originated calls to the emergency number 9-1-1.

A recent Daily Breeze article tells of a man who collapsed at a Torrance business. Another customer used the business’s Internet-based phone to dial 9-1-1.

While a landline call would have gone straight to the local 9-1-1 operator, this call was answered by someone in Denver who worked for the Internet phone service and needed to know where the call was from in order to transfer the call to the right 9-1-1 operator, which caused a delay in response.

Dialing 9-1-1 over a landline is fast and effective in part because two things automatically happen — the call is routed to the right 9-1-1 operator, one who is assigned to serve the jurisdiction from which the call was made, and the street address of the phone’s location automatically appears on the operator’s screen. This means that help can be dispatched even if the caller does not know the address; for example, when a small child makes the call.

“It is imperative that we get a complete picture of this situation,” said Knabe. “We need to know more about this problem in order to make sure we do what is necessary to protect people’s health and well-being.”

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