Survey: Most Cellphone Users Think First Responders Can Locate Them (8/26/14)
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | Comments

A new survey of more than 1,000 consumers found broad public expectations that wireless callers can be found by emergency responders if they dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. The survey was sponsored by the Find Me 911 Coalition.

According to the survey, two-thirds of cellphone owners (66 percent) thought that wireless companies could help emergency responders locate them at least to their block, if they call 9-1-1 from inside their homes. Only 6 percent of cellphone owners correctly responded that the information would likely be accurate only to the neighborhood level.

When told that current FCC regulations don’t require cellphone carriers to provide an accurate location for callers inside buildings, 83 percent said it was very or critically important to public safety for the FCC to adopt a rule to require cellphone companies to generate that information.

About 79 percent said the FCC should begin enforcing the rule within two years, with 46 percent saying the FCC should begin enforcement immediately.

"When people dial 9-1-1 on their cellphones, they think the operator can find their location to send help," said Jamie Barnett, director of the Find Me 911 Coalition. "If you call 9-1-1 on your cellphone inside or in an urban canyon, the carriers' technologies will often fail to accurately locate that call. Happily, technologies exist now that can find callers indoors and save lives. The carriers' responsibilities should match consumer expectations that they can be found when they dial 9-1-1 from indoors."

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said they would consider switching cellphone companies to a provider who could more accurately and reliably find 9-1-1 callers.

The survey was conducted online among 1,048 adult U.S. cellphone owners August 15 – 18. The survey was conducted via SurveyMonkey.com using a custom audience sample selected from the site's 30 million users. The survey had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

The full results of the survey can be found at findme911.org/news/.

The FCC earlier this year requested comment on its proposed rules for location accuracy. The commission has not yet released a report and order on the rules.

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