911, what’s your emergency? Oh, wait, where are you?

Sometimes it takes a tragic incident to bring awareness to create action. Most of us don’t even think about what we need to know to get the urgent help we need. Just ask Sherry Herzing of Lake Gaston, whose husband passed away after urgent 911 services were delayed due to issues from using cell phones to call 911.      

Most 911 systems were built using analog technologies intended to be used with landlines, having a fixed location. Cell phones, which use digital technologies, do not pinpoint your location. This becomes complicated for those of us visiting or living in rural areas such as Lake Gaston covering 5 counties across 2 states where the cell phone signal can be sent to the wrong county dispatch center. This means the 911 dispatcher needs very specific information as to location before emergency services can be dispatched.

What can we do about this? How can we educate ourselves, neighbors, friends and visitors to be prepared for such an emergency? The Lake Gaston 911 Community Task Force has formed to get preparedness information to residents, visitors and renters and to meet with all county emergency services to promote exchange of ideas. Efforts are also focusing on how to improve 911 response for incidents occurring on Lake Gaston.

As the majority of 911 emergency phone calls are coming from cell phones, the caller needs to know the county, state and other key details. While these answers may come naturally for a resident, this is not the case when a child, renter or visitor in the home makes the 911 cell phone call. During an emergency, the frantic 911 caller is only focused on stating the emergency and getting help. It is confusing and frustrating for the caller to answer location questions, and horrific when they don’t know the answers. Please help them be prepared. The LKG 911 Community Task Force has an information packet to help you. We also have people available to speak at organization meetings. We have a helpful video and other resources on our Facebook Page. For more Information about the LKG 911 Community Task Force, contact Lynn K. Cisar via email at LKCISAR@yahoo.com or by home phone 434-636-4438.  Please visit us on Facebook: LKG 911 Community Task Force and “like” us to get real time updates.

LYNN K. CISAR

Lake Gaston

Bracey, Va.