First rescue using cell phone 911 locator

Published: December 14, 2005 | 3002nd good news item since 2003

Brown County says it’s new E-911 system is working and working well. The enhanced 911 was put into use for the first time Monday night to help save an injured snowmobiler.

The call came in to the county dispatch center a little before 5 p.m. Ken Rueckert made the call using his cell phone after crashing his snowmobile.

The dispatcher answered, “Brown County 911. Where’s your emergency?”

“I just crashed my snowmobile.”

“Okay. Where are you, sir?”

“On the bay.”

Rueckert was hurt but he didn’t know exactly where he was. But the dispatchers did thanks to a new system just implemented in the county’s emergency center that can track cell phone calls and pinpoint their location.

Jim Nickel pointed, “Even though he said he was down here and we listened to him, we were sending everything right here, a mile-and-a-half north, and that’s exactly where he was.”

The Eagle 3 rescue helicopter searched for the man from the air and other responders were on the ground. They found him 17 minutes after that call came in to the dispatch center.

“It was really great because we could send everything right here, right to this point on the ground and in the area, and we were able to get him in and off in record time,” Nickel said.

Nickel says that timing is priceless. “The response time from the time we got the call to the time we had assets there helping this person was minimized, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Right now Brown County can trace 911 calls made on Cellcom, Nextel, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular carriers. The dispatch center hopes to bring that up to seven cellular providers by the beginning of next year.

Published in Rescues, Science & Technology
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