New technology looks to improve response time to 911 on cellphones

New technology looks to increase response time to 911 on cellphones

PEARL, Miss. (WLBT) - As rains pour and flood waters rise across the state, MEMA is finding ways to get you help sooner when making an emergency call on your cellphone.

More and more people rely on mobile devices when dialing 911.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency introduced dispatchers and first responders to new technology designed to send help faster.

While MEMA officials monitor the rains and flooding across the state, they are working to arm counties with advanced technology to increase the speed of response to 911 calls.

Various county 911 dispatchers, emergency management agencies and first responders were introduced to RapidSOS at MEMA headquarters.

The technology is designed to help 911 dispatchers access information on cellphone calls by more precisely pinpointing their location.

“Information is available through our portal and includes accurate real-time caller information from the device on any iPhone that is iOS 12 or above and any Android phone that is version four or above. That information will be sent to us,” said RapidSOS Vice President of Public Safety Tom Guthrie.

Reportedly, more than 70 percent of emergency calls to 911 are made on cellphones, creating difficulty for dispatchers trying to find their locations.

MEMA sees the new software as a vital tool for 911 operations and emergency management agencies statewide.

“It is a lifesaving endeavor,” said MEMA Chief Information Officer Bob Buseck. “As an advocate for those counties we are super excited about the potential, the partnership between the counties and RapidSOS for their lifesaving capability that they bring.”

Eleven counties have signed up for the free web interface service, accessible only to public safety agencies.

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