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In September 26 and September 27 articles in News & Observer and Evansville Courier & Press, Venable partner Jamie Barnett commented on the challenges 911 dispatchers face in locating callers who dial 911 from cell phones indoors. While dispatchers can pinpoint a caller’s exact location if dialed from a landline, they often can only track it to the nearest cellphone tower if the caller dials from a wireless device.

Speaking on behalf of the 911 Coalition – a national organization of emergency responders – at a Congressional briefing last week, Barnett said “we need to ensure that 911 works in today’s wireless world” adding that “we can be doing better than we’re doing right now.”

Barnett told a story about a father inside a building who called 911 from his cellphone about a baby in distress. “He didn’t speak English. And it took 16 minutes for them to find where he was,” he said. “In that particular situation — and there were a lot of other things — maybe it wasn’t the 16 minutes, but the baby passed away.”