Tuesday, March 7

Mobile phone callers - where are you?

I took a call recently on a night shift which was particularly harrowing. It was a family trapped by fire and I couldn't get the address. They were calling from a mobile phone so I couldn't get a location on it from the operator. After a couple of minutes other calls started coming in and we were able to mobilise.

It can be very frustrating when taking these sort of calls because all you want to do is mobilise someone to it, but you can't because you don't have an address. We are about to get a new system which will allow us to input a mobile phone number into a program, get the grid references which we can then enter into another program and get a rough location. It all seems a bit long winded at the moment but hopefully it will help us in these sorts of situations. Incidents during the early hours may only get the one call so it is vital that we have something, even though it will only be a rough location.

On a lighter note, it will also be a bit scary for malicious callers when we can get the details of their location (even a rough one!) and tell them we know where they are calling from!! Insert evil laugh.....


M2KB said...

Do you have EISEC yet? Or is that the service you think you'll be getting?

We've had it in my police area now for blimey, 6 years? The mobile element to that has been live now for the best part of 2 or 3 years and it is marvellous. You'll instantly love it I promise! The accuracy of it is improving all the time as well.

If you dial from a landline, it instantly populates with your name (or business), street address, town, postcode and telephone number. Excellent for when there is no speech or just background shouting.

From mobiles, it populates instantly with the mobile number, then it pops up after approx 3 to 5 seconds with the operator name (vodafone, o2 etc), the 12 figure grid-reference, an accuracy percentage rating, speed, elevation, angle and so forth.

The end result is on our map we can see where the caller is (town centre urban within 10-50m, urban within 50-150m and rural 500m to 5 miles!), how high up they are, how fast they're going (doesn't work yet), and how confident the system is they will be within the circle drawn by the grid references.

Certain networks have 'AGPS', which basically when making a 999 call will 'assist' the grid referencing system by providing an approximation of its location with a minature built-in GPS receiver in the phone. Only a few phones have it at the moment, but I had a call from one the other week and it was SPOT on. I'm not kidding. The location of the caller on the map was *exactly* where the police car stopped.

Fortunately the caller appeared to get out of the way of the approaching car first.

Miranda Shuttleworth said...

Yes I think thats what it is! You can see I paid attention in training!

I'm looking forward to it coming in. Its a new toy and something that I shall enjoy playing on in the early hours!

Donna said...

I have to admit that, as a techy, I am absolutely stunned to read that the fire service hasn't had this technology long before now. Do you know why? Cost? Legal issues? Please ... tell an inquiring mind!

Miranda Shuttleworth said...

Donna, the honest answer would have to be - I have absolutely no idea!

I think it depends on the Fire Authority from area to area. We don't have touch screen phones, yet a smaller Brigade close to us has had them for years.

We still manage to answer our calls and mobililse fire engines within 25 seconds (on average) so having limited technology does not slow us down in anyway!

Incidently I tried to access our new system after I'd mobilised a couple of fire engines and by the time I had got the location out of it, the fire engines were leaving after putting out a shed fire! May have something to do with 'What was the password again? No that doesn't work, ok I'll try that one, yup I'm in. Now what do I do again?' Modern technology - I LOVE it!

M2KB said...

*grin* I'm eagerly awaiting an addon to our mapping system that'll do it all for us. At the moment we have to enter all the details manually if we want to look at a mobile caller on the map. Only takes a few seconds, but there is always the chance of a mistype which, depending where in the grid reference you make the mistake, could mean the difference between a couple of feet or cross country!

(I liked it when our AVLS system had a moment and promptly said 3/4 of our fleet were swimming around in the English Channel and off the coast of Cornwall.)