On November 22, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted new rules to help first responders find victims calling 911 using a mobile device. These rules require the mobile phone carriers to provide the vertical (z-axis) location of a 911 caller using a mobile device for 80 percent of indoor wireless 911 calls. The vertical location will have to be accurate within three meters. The FCC also announced a future rulemaking to determine tighter accuracy standards for 911 calls using mobile devices.

The IAFC has been advocating for the FCC to establish a tight vertical standard for 911 calls and has been joined by fellow national public safety organizations such as the International Association of Fire Fighters, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Association of State EMS Officials, and National Sheriffs’ Association. This new z-axis metric will help first responders identify the floor on which a 911 caller is located and provide aid more quickly. 
 
The IAFC would like to recognize the role that the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department played in helping to educate the FCC about the location needs of first responders. Chief John Butler and his department hosted both FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Brendan Carr and explained how accurate horizontal and vertical location information is vital to providing lifesaving assistance to the public.

Ken LaSala serves as the director of Government Relations at the IAFC

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