It happens with excruciating regularity: a cellular 9-1-1 caller has no idea where they are. I took another one of those last week, and it’s very possible that only technology saved the caller from violent injury.
An inebriated spouse, the middle of the night, and the middle of nowhere is not a good situation in which to find oneself. Tulare County is huge. Even not counting Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, we’re still one of the larger counties in California. Telling the 9-1-1 dispatcher you’re on “the road to Tulare” really doesn’t help much.
My caller was using a disconnected cell phone, which can still dial 9-1-1 if it has power, and for several minutes into the call the system was not providing GPS data that would allow me determine a location. Fortunately, it eventually sent the latitude and longitude, and I was able to pinpoint where “on the road to Tulare” they were. Deputies were dispatched, and the issue was resolved. If not a happy ending, then at least not a tragic one.
We rely on technology, and most of the time it serves us well. When your safety, and quite possibly your life, depends on it working as designed, however, it’s not wise to place all your trust on everything functioning to perfection. The phone may usually know where it’s at, but if you don’t, and the technology doesn’t perform, we’re left with only a few options to try and find you, and none of them are quick.
The bottom line: know where you are.
And the disclaimer – as with all my posts that refer to 9-1-1, these are my comments only, and do not represent an official statement by any agency, department, or other government body.