25% of U.S. Households Have Cell Phones Over Landlines

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--Whether it's for convenience or to just keep up with the times, does that convenience make it easier to call 9-1-1 in an emergency?

Whether it's an iPhone, a Blackberry or your phone of choice, calling 9-1-1 in an emergency is sometimes not all that simple.  But, rest assured, help will come.

"If you call 9-1-1 on a cell phone, there are different ways we can locate you," City of Midland Communications Manager, Eva Luna, said.

Contrary to popular belief, just because you use a cell phone to report an emergency, doesn't make it any harder for first responders to find you.

"It is not a growing trend in difficulty in tracking 9-1-1 calls.  It depends.  There are so many factors involved in cell phone technology, the carrier, their infrastructure, the weather.  There are so many factors that can go into a cell phone call," Luna explains.

Everyone has experienced dropped calls or static on the line when you're talking.  Everything has to do with cell phone technology.

According to Luna, "It depends on the cell phone that you're using and the carrier you're using and the time of day, how busy it is.  When something major happens, cell phones get busy.  It's too much for the infrastructure.  It's not the same technology as a regular landline.  It's a simple as that."

When you compare calls on landlines to calls on cell phones, both get the job done.  Luna says, they just do it a little differently, "If it's a phase 2 call and you are in an apartment complex, it will not give us the apartment number.  It will give us a general location.  Whereas, on a landline, it will give us an apartment number."

But there is one thing that is standard in every 9-1-1 call.

"Nothing will ever replace the dispatcher asking you where we need to go, whether it's a cell phone or whether it's a regular phone line," Luna said.

Midland 9-1-1 gets upwards of 200 calls on an average day.  During the severe storms that pelted the area on May 14th, dispatchers took over 700 calls in about four hours.