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AT&T launches new feature to improve wireless 911 call response

AT&T is launching a new feature to make it easier for 911 crews to find you.
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - AT&T is rolling out an upgrade across Louisiana this week that will make it easier for emergency services to find and send help to wireless 9-1-1 callers.

“This is a life-saving measure and it is something that is definitely going to keep our relatives, our family members, and even us alive depending on the situation,” said Ravin Godwin, an AT&T representative.

The new “Locate Before Route” feature uses GPS instead of cell towers to give a more precise location for people who call 9-1-1 from a mobile device. The technology helps narrow down the location of a wireless caller from several miles to within about 55 yards.

With a better location, public safety can respond faster.

“We all have family and relatives that may have used 911 before and some of us have had relatives who have passed away unfortunately and it could have been just a few seconds, or a few moments, or a few minutes that if someone had gotten to them a few moments sooner, that they would have lived,” Godwin said.

In East Baton Rouge Parish, EMS is currently using a third-party vendor that helps them pinpoint the location of an emergency call.

Jim Verlander from the EBR Communication District said they would have to purchase new equipment to make their system compatible with AT&T’s upgrade, but he anticipates they will not have to do that. He said EMS will undergo a massive overhaul of their phone system by the end of the year that will eventually give them the same resource AT&T is offering.

“That phone system will have that GPS location along with these other functions that I am talking about all incorporated into that 911 call and into that 911 phone system,” Verlander said.

He said what AT&T and other departments across the country are doing is a part of their commitment to making sure everyone gets the help they need.

“This will save lives. I know this will save lives,” Verlander said.

AT&T initially launched the service in May, but they expect it to be available for customers nationwide by the end of June.

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