The application is being called the “Uber of 911” and Tarrant County dispatch centers are going to be the first center in the United States to test the app that could potentially save thousands of lives.
The name of the mobile app is SirenGPS, and will give 911 operators and emergency responders the location of emergency calls.
“The reality is Uber could find you faster and easier than traditional 911 because they use an app-based product with GPS technology, and that’s a huge problem when more than 80 percent of our calls are now coming from cellphones,” regional dispatch manager Warren Dudley said. “The beauty of this product is that it will run parallel to our traditional capabilities and improve our speed, accuracy and efficiency. It is going to revolutionize our ability to take care of our residents.”
Law enforcement officials said in a news release that often times when someone calls 911 from their cellphone that the location appears as the nearest cell tower. The Federal Communications Commission Is looking to require cellphone carriers to deliver a “dispatchable” location that is within 50 meters for just 40 percent of cellphone calls by next year.
In contrast, the SirenGPS app will be able to deliver the caller’s pinpointed location to 911 operators for more than 90 percent of calls, and will even be available when cell service is not available. Users will have a profile that they can update with information such as medical history and emergency contacts, and be able to select which emergency service they need from the app.
Dudley stated that the profile information can potentially be lifesaving.
“There are also huge implications for when someone can’t speak to us either because doing so would put them in danger or because of the nature of their medical emergency — language barriers, too shaken up to speak, you name it,” Dudley said. “We’ll know where callers are and what they need with the push of a button.”
With this technology, calling 911 will take “fewer clicks” and it is believed that the app can save more than 10,000 lives per year in the U.S., according to the FCC.
In the meantime, the city of Keller plans to move their emergency notification system to the application, as well.