Rep. Pallone calls for first responder accuracy enhancements

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) | Courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) called on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to make efforts to enhance location accuracy in 9-1-1 emergency calls on Monday.

Both Pallone and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) — who are serving as ranking member and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, respectively — wrote a letter to Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman, in order to voice bipartisan support for enhancements in this area.

"When someone calls 9-1-1, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds,” Pallone said. “First responders cannot afford to waste precious time struggling to identify the caller’s whereabouts. We need to make sure that, when it matters most, first responders have the precise information that they need in order to locate those in need of immediate assistance.”

In December, emergency personnel were unable to locate an Atlanta woman who had driven into a pond. Details on the incident from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution state that it was her decision to contact a colleague and 9-1-1 that saved her. The first dispatcher could not locate the area due to its being an unfamiliar location. This incident spurred Pallone to take action.

Also in the letter, the congressmen urged for the establishment of indoor location accuracy protocols, as well as to utilize whatever technology available to do so.