January 22, 2014

Jamie Barnett discusses tracking wireless 911 calls on The Kojo Nnamdi Show

2 min

Venable partner and retired Navy Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett discussed the challenges facing 911 operators trying to pinpoint the location of a caller using a wireless phone in an emergency on the January 16, 2014 broadcast of The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 in Washington, DC. Admiral Barnett, who was a call in guest on the show, is the director of the Find Me 911 Coalition representing 911 personnel and first responders concerned about failures in the wireless 911 system.

Admiral Barnett pointed out that of the 240 million 911 calls made each year, over 70 percent come from wireless phones. “Most people think that 911 can find you just as easily as if you picked up a landline,” said Admiral Barnett. “But it's actually quite complex, particularly because the carriers have moved to GPS systems which work pretty well if you're outdoors and not obstructed. But if you're in a city, if you're under a metal roof, if you're in a brick or concrete building indoors anywhere, 911 may not be able to find you. And it's alarming. And so we want the FCC to move forward with adopting indoor standards that would require the carriers to use all the technologies that are available right now. This doesn't have to be a problem.”