Sample Letter

Dear: We agree with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial that appeared on July 2 titled “Safety at a Bargain.” Wireless phone users in Illinois, both rural and urban need the same access to 9-1-1 as wireline phone users. As public health and safety professionals, we urge Governor Ryan to sign HB 1383 “The Wireless Emergency Safety Act” into law. In an emergency, 9-1-1 is your first link to help. Most homes and businesses in Illinois call 9-1-1 from wireline telephones for immediate emergency assistance. Yet, a growing percentage of those calls for help are coming from highways, soccer fields and street corners via wireless phones. In fact, 25-40% of all emergency calls received by Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) are wireless calls. HB 1383 is not a tax, but rather an important safety fee applied to wireless telephones much like that already applied to wireline telephones in our homes and business for 9-1-1 service. The 75-cent fee is needed to improve and provide upgrades to private sector equipment and public wireless systems. The city of Chicago already adds a fee of $1.25 to all Chicago wireless bills to improve and support the city’s state of the art 9-1-1 emergency center. This safety fee, similar to the fees enacted in over 30 other states, is a necessity to deploy wireless location technology that is required by the Federal Communication Commission to be fully operational by 2001. Unlike landline phones, wireless 9-1-1 calls do not currently provide location information, by pinpointing wireless callers location response times would be reduced and lives would be saved. Time is the central factor in an emergency; trying to find a wireless caller could dramatically increase the level of injuries or prove fatal to the victim. Emergency medical professionals refer to the period following a crash or other life-threatening incident as the “golden hour.” Getting proper care quickly to the scene, during this hour, often means the difference between life and death. James Brady, chairman of the Brain Injury Association and former national Press Secretary to Ronald Regan states that, “For people sustaining traumatic brain injuries, upgrading our wireless emergency response system is the key to shaving critical minutes off the ‘golden hour,’ saving lives and reducing the impact of injuries.” The Brain Injury Association, National Emergency Number Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other public safety, public heath, industry and consumer organizations are working nationally and here in Illinois to improve our 9-1-1 system. Governor Ryan must sign HB 1383 into law to make this first critical step in Illinois to improve our emergency response infrastructure. Sincerely, Norman Forshee, (Replace with your name) 9-1-1 Coordinator (Replace with your title) St. Clair County (Replace with your organization) cc: Springfield Bureau