Friday, December 12, 2003
State issues advisory on 911 response to cell phones
Since November 24, telephone customers in selected communities in the Commonwealth, including Carlisle, have had the option of transferring their landline or wireline telephone number to their cellular phone — a process known as local number portability (LNP). However, state authorities are warning citizens that doing this will affect their 911 emergency response service.
The landline is geographically-based and, when a 911 call is received, the screen at the police station automatically prints out the address, phone number and other information. This enables police to check out all 911 calls, including abandoned or hang-up calls. If you transfer from a wireline to a wireless phone, your home address will be deleted from the 911 data base. During the changeover period, a 911 call placed from a cell phone can be completed, but the operator may not be able to call you back if the phone gets disconnected, or locate you in the event you are unable to respond. The Massachusetts Statewide Emergency Telecommuni-cations Board recommends that before porting (or transferring) to either a wireless or cell phone number, the consumer should check out how long the porting process will take and how it will affect a 911 call.
The emergency response system nationwide is currently working on a global positioning system readout (GPS) for 911 calls from both land lines and cell phones. GPS capability is not yet fully developed and when it arrives it will be costly. Additional information on this topic regarding LNP and its affect on 911 service may be found on the website www.mas.gov/e911.
© 2003 The