Enhanced 9-1-1 is a term used for the system that selectively routes an emergency call to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) based on the valid address of the caller, automatically displaying the caller’s telephone number, address, and the registered subscriber name.
Until 2004, North Dakota’s PSAPs were only able to receive this information from traditional landline telephones (example: your home or business telephone). Now, all North Dakota PSAPs are capable of receiving similar enhanced information from wireless devices such as cell phones and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) devices.
Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 is a term used for the system that routes an emergency call to the PSAP based upon the location of the tower handling the emergency call. Phase I of this system provides the 9-1-1 telecommunicator with the telephone number of the caller and the location of the tower handling the call. Phase II of the system provides actual coordinates (latitude / longitude) of the caller’s location that the PSAP uses to dynamically display on an electronic map. The futuristic view of the Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 system is Phase III that would provide an elevation to account for calls made from within multi-story buildings in urbanized areas.
Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 services are possible because of technological improvements made by the wireless carriers, traditional telephone companies, and the PSAPs to pass and receive that information. In North Dakota, the actual phone used to make the 9-1-1 call must have a GPS chip that communicates with satellites orbiting the earth to determine the caller’s location. The FCC requires that where Phase II information cannot be determined, the call must be routed to the PSAP with Phase I information.