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Calling 911 From a Cell? Be Sure to Tell Dispatcher Which City Needs Help

Duplicate addresses in adjacent cities may result in emergency services responding to the wrong neighborhood because current 911 technology does not identify the location of cellular callers.

The following is a press release from the .

Recently an emergency call for service was made by a person who witnessed a fire in an alley trash receptacle in the City of Beverly Hills. The 9-1-1 call was made by cellular phone and answered by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Communications Dispatch Center. The caller stated the location of the fire and awaited the response of emergency personnel. The Los Angeles Fire Department was dispatched to a different location, with the same address, in the City of Los Angeles. This duplicate Los Angeles address was located several blocks away from the actual incident. After some confusion, the actual location of the fire was determined and the fire was extinguished without injury or significant property damage.

The above circumstances identify a problem that may occur when there are duplicate addresses in adjacent cities and when a cellular phone is used to report an emergency via the 9-1-1 system. While the City of Beverly Hills meets and often exceeds all state call answering requirements for 9-1-1, this problem occurs because current 9-1-1 technology does not identify the location of the cellular caller. Within the next several years, next generation technology will be in place to eliminate the potential for this problem and the City of Beverly Hills is part of a group that is at the forefront of making this happen.

In the meantime the public is urged, when phoning in an emergency from a cellular phone, to state to the 9-1-1 dispatcher that they are calling from Beverly Hills and to provide complete location information, including the nearest cross street. The public will continue to have the option to call the direct emergency dispatch number (310-550-4800 or 310-550-4900), or the non-emergency number (310-550-4951). However, the public should be aware that 9-1-1 calls are answered with a higher priority than 10-digit calls.

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