Tips for Wireless Consumers
A wireless service provider may not be able to accurately and automatically determine a 911 caller's location. As a result, when replacing your wireless phone, you should always ask about the new wireless phone's E911 capabilities. Some providers may offer incentives to encourage customers without location-capable wireless phones to obtain new location-capable phones. For example, they may offer location-capable wireless phones at a discount.
Some providers may choose to prevent reactivation of older wireless phones that do not have E911 capability, or they may adopt various other measures.
If a provider declines to reactivate a wireless phone that is not location-capable, the FCC still requires the provider to deliver a 911 call from that wireless phone to the appropriate PSAP.
Tips for 911 Calling
Consumers making a 911 call from a wireless phone should remember the following:
Tell the emergency operator the location of the emergency right away.
Provide the emergency operator with your wireless phone number, so if the call gets disconnected, the emergency operator can call you back.
PSAPs currently lack the technical capability to receive texts, photos and videos.
If your wireless phone is not "initialized" (meaning you do not have a contract for service with a wireless service provider), and your emergency call gets disconnected, you must call the emergency operator back because the operator does not have your telephone number and cannot contact you.
To help public safety personnel allocate emergency resources, learn and use the designated number in your state for highway accidents or other non life-threatening incidents. States often reserve specific numbers for these types of incidents. For example, "#77" is the number used for highway accidents in Virginia.
Refrain from programming your phone to automatically dial 911 when one button, such as the "9" key, is pressed. Unintentional wireless 911 calls, which often occur when auto-dial keys are inadvertently pressed, cause problems for emergency call centers.
If your wireless phone came preprogramed with the auto-dial 911 feature already turned on, turn this feature off. Consult your user manual for instructions.
Lock your keypad when you're not using your wireless phone. This action prevents accidental calls to 911.
Consider creating a contact in your wireless phone's memory with the name "ICE" (in Case of Emergency), which lists the phone numbers of people you want to have notified in an emergency.