Province launches enhanced cellular 911 system
SYDNEY — Nova Scotia can better trace the location of cellphone users in an emergency thanks to an improvement in the provincial 911 system.
The launch of the enhanced cellular 911 system comes after more than two years of collaboration between the wireless industry and the province’s Emergency Management Office, which administers the province’s 911 service.
EMO Minister Ramona Jennex said the system has been exten- sively tested and provides an approximate location of a wireless phone by estimating longitude and latitude co-ordinates.
“I am pleased to see Nova Scotia be one of the first in Canada to provide this important public safety improvement provincewide,” said Jennex in a press release.
Prior to the system change, the location of cellphone callers could only be estimated to within the area of the nearest cellphone tower.
EMO said despite the new technology, it is important for callers to try to provide their exact location to the dispatch service.
This is particularly important if cellphone callers are in places that make global positioning technology more difficult, such as in an underground parking lot.
Nova Scotia helped lobby to have the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission direct the industry to provide wireless, location-based services.
Last February, the CRTC set a one-year deadline for the service to be in place wherever there are 911 programs.
The provincial EMO office said most cellphones are now designed to automatically allow their location to be traced for calls to 911.
Customers should contact their wireless service provider if they have questions about their cellphone or the technology.
More information can be found at http://emo.gov.ns.ca/content/911.