New data shows nine out of 10 calls to 911 in D.C. do not give accurate location information to dispatchers

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – It may harder than you think for a 911 dispatcher to locate where you are if you’re calling from D.C.

A new report containing data obtaining via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Find Me 911 Coalition shows that nine out of 10 wireless calls to 911 in D.C. in early 2013 did not report accurate location information to the dispatcher. Only 10.3 percent, or 39,805, of the 385,341 calls to the District’s 911 communications center between Dec. 2012 and July 2013 included caller locations.

Verizon had the highest percentage of calls with accurate location info, 24.6 percent, followed by Sprint at 23.3 percent. Carriers Leap, T-Mobile, and AT&T were next with 16 percent, 3.2 percent, and 2.6 percent, respectively.

Dispatchers could have a hard time pinpointing a caller’s location due to obstacles such as if someone calls from inside a brick or concrete building that will affect the GPS signal.

An official with the coalition also spoke to WAMU, stating that wireless carriers still use old rules and technology that predate the smartphones and cell phones of today, which makes it harder for satellites to locate callers.