Local News
Eyewitness Sports
Medical Coverage
Call For Action
More Details
What's On WPRI
What's On Fox
2 Minute Test Drive
Experts Online
Online Store
Chopper 12
Station Info

MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 14, 2005
Education | House & Home | Money | Pets | Recipes | Relationships | What's Next | More Topics...
Your call for help might not always get to 911
Email to a Friend Printer Friendly Version  

Rhode Island averages 14-hundred 911 emergency calls a day. More than half from cell phones. But how effective is the state's new tracking system?

A lot of us buy cells phones as a lifeline in case of emergency, but your phone could fail you when you need it most. There was a frightening 911 call in Arizona. A woman about to be sexually assaulted uses her cell phone to call for help, but operators cannot locate her- instead listening, in horror, as the attack happens.

Here at home, a better outcome- emergency crews rescue three teenagers after their kayak capsizes in a Warwick pond. 911 operators were able to locate the cell phone caller thanks to our GPS tracker system.

The technology has been in place since 2001 and can locate a cell phone caller within seconds, right down to the street. In some cities, operators can even call up a computer generated picture of your house. But Eyewitness News has learned the system does not always work.

We put the tracker system to the test:

"I hope you can track this call before my connection drops"

And they did- operators were able to track our caller down to the cross streets. But a Pawtucket caller wasn't as lucky- operators traced her 2 blocks away.

When you dial 911 on your cell phone aGPS chip in your phone sends your location via satellite to the operators. On a sunny day, the connection is clear, but in bad weather tracking you down may not be easy.

Raymond Labelle, RI 911 Executive Director:

"Today being cloudy, overcast and rainy, one of these calls was a little bit off"

Operators were more than a little bit off when our Newport caller phoned. They could hear her, but they couldn't find her. The problem? She used a 4-year old phone that does not have the GPS chip. Most phones made after 2001 come equipped with the tracker system but a GPS chip cannot be installed into an older phone. Although buying a new phone means money out of your pocket, Labelle says it's worth it. The cash could save your life.

Federal regulations require all phones to have gps tracker by next December. But if you have an older phone without the chip, 911 can only track your location if you take control. You should always tell them your location first.

Local News
Governor names replacement for child advocate
Eyewitness News RSS Feeds
Try the very latest way to read Eyewitness News headlines. Never miss an important story!
Mollicone going back to jail
Romney Prepares for His State of the State
Judge Allowing Criminal History
More Than Two Million Going to Conservation
Warwick Kicks Off Tunami Aid Campaign
R.I. National Guard soldier returns from Afghanistan
Governor makes nomination for new health insurance commissioner post
Joe Mollicone is back in prison after violating parole
National News  more» 
Preliminary estimates put damage at over $100 million in storm-battered California
Abu Ghraib abuse case rests without Graner's testimony
Advisers debate safety of allowing over-the-counter sales of cholesterol drug
Police investigate multiple deaths in Dallas
States propose paying premiums for National Guard life insurance
Bush expected to propose raising Pell Grant award
Atheist asks judge to prevent prayer at Bush inauguration
Bush heading to Florida to focus on education, job training plans
More residents to return to South Carolina homes
Rains bring more flooding worries all over Ohio
Is Your Financial House in Order?
Take a look at your New Year's resolution list. Is "make a budget," "save more money," or "start investing" on there? Click now for simple solutions.
What's a Good Credit Score?
It's your right to know what credit scoring agencies are saying about you. Learn what's considered a "good" score.
Living With Diabetes
Part of living with Diabetes is managing it properly. A free Diabetes Health Organizer can help.
Send questions and comments about this website to the .
All content © Copyright 2003-2005 WorldNow, WPRI, WNAC and Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.