911 Communications: Cellular 911

Cell (wireless) 911 is now a reality for most carriers doing business in Iowa. Simply put, the new Cell 911 Network delivers your cell phone number and emergency 911 call to the closest dispatch center.

While the new network is an improvement, the caller still needs to have an understanding of their location. Maintaining an awareness of one's location will help emergency responders arrive more quickly. The Cell 911 network is a great enhancement but plans are in the works to go a step further. It's estimated that by 2005, your Cell 911 call will also deliver your location information to the dispatch center on a computerized map display. At that point, Cell 911 will nearly match your 911 service based at your home.

The development and operation of this new system is partially funded from a statewide $0.50 per month surcharge that is placed on all wireless phones with a billable address in Iowa.

Every cell phone user has an important responsibility that accompanies the benefits of using a wireless phone. When driving a vehicle, driving is your first responsibility. A cell phone can be an invaluable tool, but good judgment must be exercised at all times while driving.

Driving and using your cell phone is not recommended, but in the event you feel it cannot be avoided, the following are some safety tips to follow:

  • Get to know your cell phone and its features, such as speed dial and voicemail.
  • Use a hands-free device.
  • Position your cell phone within easy reach.
  • Suspend conversations during hazardous driving conditions or in heavy traffic.
  • Don't take notes or look up phone numbers while driving.
  • Place calls when parked or before pulling into traffic.
  • Do not engage in stressful or emotional conversations or activities that may be distracting.