CLEVELAND - Using a cellphone to call 911 can the delay emergency crews response time, according to Eric Bartholomew, a lieutenant with the Shaker Heights Fire Department.
"Normally, when you dial 911 on a cellphone, we only get the address of the tower, we don't get the immediate location of the user," he said.
Bartholomew said it can take several minutes to pinpoint the exact location of a 911 call from a cellphone.
"If your house is on fire, ideally, go to a neighbor's house and use a landline phone," he said.
If you must use a cellphone to call 911, immediately tell the dispatcher your location.
"Once we have the address, we can get help moving to you immediately and that can really save lives," said Bartholomew.
During a 911 call about a house fire at 3333 Daleford Avenue in Shaker Heights early Tuesday morning, the caller was upset and unable to give the address until more than two minutes into the call. At the same time, the caller gave the address, a county dispatcher pinpointed the location of the home. Two people died in the fire. Seven, including two firefighters, were hurt.
Right now, Cuyahoga County dispatchers are the first to answer 911 calls from cellphones. Dispatchers then route the calls to the appropriate department.
A Cuyahoga County spokesman said most callers do know the location of their emergencies. He also said there is no technology that is currently available that could speed up pinpointing locations from cell phones.
For more information on how to get help quickly when you dial 911 from a cellphone, click on this link from the city of Cleveland: http://on.wews.com/12sqefI
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