The number of 911 calls placed by people using wireless phones has significantly increased in recent years. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates about 70 percent of 911 calls are placed from wireless phones, and that percentage is growing. State Fire Marshal and Commerce & Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak says as more Tennesseans eliminate landline phones from their homes, fire officials want to make sure that they adapt their emergency plans to allow for quick access to their mobile phones in the event of a fire. While the location of the cell site closest to the 911 callers may provide a general indication of the caller’s location, that information is usually not specific enough for rescue personnel to deliver assistance to the caller quickly. Chief Richard Shasteen of the Tullahoma Fire Department says that minutes matter in the event of a fire and if a resident panics and is unable to locate or use their phone to report a fire, that time gap could result in a loss of life or property.
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