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
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