LOCATION EMERGENCY: Company works with Apple to improve location accuracy during emergency calls
Apple is rolling out a new feature aimed at helping dispatchers locate callers more accurately.
Despite today's technology, it can be difficult for dispatchers to pinpoint the exact location of a caller, especially when they are calling from their cellphone. The new software could get first responders to a caller nearly 30-45 seconds quicker than before.
READ MORE | Uber 911 feature: Does it work? We tested it.
"Folks I know now they rely on their phones, their cell phones, don't even have home phones or landlines anymore," said Georgia resident Jeff Dutton.
In an emergency, nearly 80% of calls at the Whitfield County 911 center come from cell phones. That can make it difficult for dispatchers to pinpoint an exact location, but a technology company is working to fix that.
"This update Apple is doing it will help us pinpoint their location a lot better," said Whitfield County 911 operations manager David Metcalf.
Apple is using software from a company called Rapid SOS, software 911 centers can get for free.
Once a 911 center has Rapid SOS, when a person makes a 911 call, their exact location is sent to Rapid SOS, which then sends it directly to the dispatcher.
"If that can help find me and get me the help I need I think that's great," said Dutton.
Metcalf also said this will help them locate people traveling through the area, who may have no idea where they are at.
"A lot of people that travel I-75, a lot of people don't know where they're at,” explained Metcalf, “A lot of people that call even from their house, a lot of them have a hard time knowing what their address is. So this is going to benefit us a lot as far as getting them the help they need a lot quicker."
A representative from Rapid SOS said a callers location will only be accessible to dispatchers and only during a 911 call. The call is encrypted from end to end.
The new update from Apple will roll out next fall.
Right now, Whitfield County does not have Rapid SOS, but they are already talking with the company to get it installed.
Right now in our area the only 911 center with Rapid SOS is Hamilton County. However, the software is available to every 911 center free of charge.
Rapid SOS is the same company that worked with Uber.
You may remember a few weeks ago we told you about the update they rolled out that allows riders to call 911 from inside the app.