Since the early 1990’s the Brodhead Police Department’s Public Safety Dispatch Center received 9-1-1 calls made from a home or business phone in the City of Brodhead or from Green County townships businesses or homes which had an 897 exchange and were located west of the Rock County line.
Recognizing more people are carrying wireless phones the Disaptch Center started receiving wireless 9-1-1 calls in 2018. Now the cell towers located in or just outside the City limits are routed to the Brodhead Police Department's Public Safety Dispatch Center. It was felt these towers covered the majority of Brodhead Fire, EMS, and Police service areas.
DIALING 9-1-1 FROM A WIRELSS PHONE
Wireless phones are wonderful pieces of technology, but they are not without their faults. Since wireless phones are not associated with a fixed location or address, like business or home phone, dialing 9-1-1 from a wireless phone presents unique challenges to public safety answering points (PSAP) throughout Wisconsin and the country. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) requires wireless providers to meet certain standards.
Wireless phone towers are required to be programed so when 9-1-1 is dialed on a wireless phone, regardless of who the caller’s wireless provider is, the tower receiving the strongest signal captures the 9-1-1 call. Each tower is required to be programmed to route the wireless 9-1-1 call received to a specific PSAP.
Since wireless phones use radio waves, there are many variables which effect which tower receives the strongest signal when a 9-1-1 is dialed from a wireless phone. Given these many variables, the number of wireless towers in the area, Brodhead’s location near the Stateline and being situated in 2 counties, it is quite possible a when 9-1-1 is dialed from a wireless phone, it could be captured by a tower that is not programmed to route the 9-1-1 call received to Brodhead’s Public Safety Dispatch Center (i.e. Rock County, Green County, or even Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office or Stephenson County Sheriff’s Offices in Illinois).
In addition, callers should NOT rely on their wireless phone providing a PSAP with the valuable information needed in order to send help. The FCC does not require wireless providers to supply GPS coordinates. However, if the wireless providers does, the FCC requires the wireless provider be able to pin point the wireless phone anywhere from 164 to 984 feet from where the wireless phone is actually located.
So, again, never assume when dialing 9-1-1 on a wireless phone that the PSAP receiving the 9-1-1 call will know where you are located or what phone number you are calling from. Always remain on the line with the PSAP and follow their instructions. If the call is disconnected, call 9-1-1 back immediately.