Monday, November 25, 2019

FCC Vote on Vertical 911 Caller Location Gets Testy

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief FCC Commissioners on Friday fiercely debated the merits of requiring carriers to supply vertical or “Z-Axis” information with 911 calls; the object is to help first responders locate those who call 911 from wireless phones in multi-story buildings.

They voted for an Order to adopt a Z-Axis location accuracy metric of plus or minus three meters relative to the handset for 80 percent of indoor wireless 911 calls. This metric—within three meters above or below the phone—will more accurately identify the floor level for most 911 calls. It’s achievable now and keeps the deployment of vertical location information to public safety officials on schedule, according to supporters.

Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the challenges of locating emergency callers is significant. During the meeting, he used the 10-story FCC building as an example. “If I were to call 911 now and unable to give my location in the building, firefighters would need to conduct a floor-by-floor search. In practical terms, that search could take 15 minutes,” he said. “For someone having a stroke, this could take even longer and would likely be fatal,” Schaitberger emphasized. Continue Reading

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