Brazos County Emergency
Communications District
Brazos County Emergency
Communications District
P.O. Box 911
Bryan, TX  77806
Fax 979.821.3407
Cell Phone Users

More than 85% of all calls to 9-1-1 are made from cell phones.  The Brazos County 9-1-1 District uses advanced call processing software and digital mapping to help locate wireless 9-1-1 callers.  This equipment is capable of receiving and displaying wireless location data, including the wireless phone number and the caller's approximate location on a map.  It is important for all citizens to remember that, although location technology has been implemented, callers must continue to provide as much location information as possible, so that 9-1-1 operators can better assist them.

FCC Requirements

Locating wireless callers to 9-1-1 is a major priority for public safety answering points across the nation.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a mandate for PSAPs to have location mechanisms in place for locating wireless 9-1-1 callers.

Wireless Phase I:
Wireless 9-1-1 service provides the 9-1-1 operator with the following information: telephone number of the wireless caller and the physical location of the cell tower which handled the 9-1-1 call.

Wireless Phase II:
Wireless 9-1-1 service provides the 9-1-1 operator with the following information: telephone number of the wireless caller and the location of the 9-1-1 caller by latitude and longitude using either handset-based or network-based location technology.

Location Technologies

Two different solutions for cell phone location technology have been implemented and the FCC provided wireless carriers with the option of using either solution.

In the handset solution, the global-positioning system (GPS) is in the telephone.  In the network solution, location technology equipment is mounted on the carrier's cell towers.  Both types of technology interface with the 9-1-1 system provided by the Brazos County 9-1-1 District.

General tips for 9-1-1 and cell phones

- Keep your phone charged
- Dial 9-1-1, then press "Send" or "Talk"
- Most cell phones provide an approximate location so you must give the 9-1-1 operator your exact location using an address, cross streets, or landmarks
- Calls may drop or fail to go through based on signal strength
- Calls may not arrive at the correct 9-1-1 center and may need to be transferred
- 9-1-1 is not equipped to receive text messages or videos

Children's cell phones

- Teach children to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency
- Help children understand what an emergency is by providing examples
- In an emergency, instruct children to call 9-1-1 first, rather than anyone else
- Help children learn their address and phone number
- Some phones marketed for children have a non-traditional dialing pad.  Owners may need to program the phone to dial 9-1-1
- Providing children with a cell phone is, of course, no substitute for parental supervision

Inactive cell phones without a service plan

- Cell phones may be provided by a non-profit organization, bought at a store or even a garage sale.  As long as the phone will hold an electrical charge, the owner may use it to dial 9-1-1
- Give your location right away.  With some phone models, 9-1-1 does not receive location information
- Call back if you are disconnected; most of these phones cannot  receive incoming calls, even from a 9-1-1 operator

Pre-paid minutes cell phones

- Give your location right away.  With some phone models or minute plans, 9-1-1 does not receive location information
- Tell the 9-1-1 operator what type of help you need
- If you run out of minutes during a 9-1-1 call, the call will end.  9-1-1 cannot call you back