New technology to help 911 dispatchers in Frederick County Maryland better locate people in need


When a call comes into a 911 dispatch center during an emergency, a slight delay can mean life or death.

“When we get 911 calls it’s first location is showing the tower of where the person is calling from , and of course that can be up to three four miles away,” said Frederick County Maryland Department of Emergency Communications Director, John Woelfel.

However, a new technology system may help. It’s called RapidSOS. Fredrick County Maryland is one of the first to adopt it in the country.

“The first thing the dispatcher is going to ask is 911 where is your emergency, or what is the address of the emergency, the challenge of course is that many of us just don’t know that anymore; so it could be very difficult in an emergency to get the help you need if you don’t know your location,” said the Founder of RapidSOS, Michael Martin.

“Most people just assume that 911 can precisely locate you, and that used to be true… from wire line calls, but now that over 80 % of 911 calls come from cell phones ;most of those can’t be precisely located…particularly right away,” continued Martin.

“If we’re delaying where we’re sending you help and you don’t know where you are, it’s very important to have some type of tool. Something like a uber or pizza delivery app that as soon as we pick that phone up we’re able to know exactly where we need to send help, and that can save anywhere from a minute and a half to two minutes a time,” Woelfel said.

This is how it works: a person uses the RapidSOS  app to contact 911 allowing the dispatcher to better pin point their location by tracking their cell phone.

“The most important thing we do in 911 is try to locate you,” added Woelfel.

The RapidSOS app is available to anyone, and can be accessed by downloading it  from Google Play , or apple I tunes store.

To learn more about RapidSOS click the link below:

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