Press Release

Contact: Sonya Carius, (800)332-3911                         

Wireless E9-1-1 Call Limitations Illustrated in FloridaTragedy  

9-1-1Association believes lack of location technology contributed to woman’sdrowning  

COLUMBUS,Ohio (February 27, 2001)—The story of Karla Gutierrez’s drowning quicklygained National coverage after she dialed 9-1-1 on her wireless phone from hersinking car in a Miami, Florida canal.  Not able to escape the car and withdispatchers unable to locate the scene of Gutierrez’s accident, the womanperished before emergency help could reach her.  

Sincethe incident, a number of factors have been discussed relating to Gutierrez’sdeath.  While, by nature, emergencies such as this contain many variablesand are unpredictable, NENA believes the Gutierrez situation may have beenhandled differently had the 9-1-1 dispatcher received her cellular phonecallback number and location information.  

“NENA understandsthat in each emergency response, many factors affect the ultimate success of theresponding agency,” said NormanForshee, President, National Emergency Number Association (NENA).  “Clearly in this case, there was little time to reach Ms. Gutierrez,but the lack of her location was clearly a factor that frustrated the efforts ofthe dispatcher in the Miami tragedy.”  

“Location informationshould be an automatic component of every 9-1-1 call, for both wireline andwireless calls such as the one placed by Gutierrez,” Forshee added.  “This tragedy should serve as a reminder to all parties concerned thatlocation information is a valuable tool in saving lives.”  

“Ms. Gutierrez’stragedy occurred in a crucial period where wireless carriers and public safetyentities are supposed to be deploying wireless location technology underexisting FCC rules,” said W. Mark Adams, NENA Executive Director.  “NENA continues to urge industry and public safety to moveas quickly as possible towards deployment of this life-saving technology.”  

According to rulings bythe Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the deadline for a wireless  

9-1-1 caller’s phonenumber—also called wireless 9-1-1 Phase I—to be received by 9-1-1communicators has passed.  Wirelesscaller location information, or Phase II, is to be received in 9-1-1 centers asof October 1, 2001.  NENA estimatesthat less than 20% of the Nation’s population is served by Phase I, and avirtually all of the Nation remains without automatic location Phase II service.  

With only seven monthsuntil the October 1, 2000 FCC target date, NENA urges action on this issue byall of the stakeholders involved.  

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NENA isthe only organization dedicated solely to the promotion and implementation of9-1-1 as America’s universal emergency number. NENA’s mission is to fosterthe development and implementation of 9-1-1 as a universal emergency number.NENA has more than 7,000 members, most of whom manage the 4,300 primary 9-1-1centers that answer and process 9-1-1 calls.  As a part of its mission, NENA also develops recommended standards andprotocol for 9-1-1 services.  NENA’sinternational headquarters is located in Columbus, Ohio.