9-1-1 operators need accurate information to help locate people in need
In an emergency, even the smallest delay in paramedic response time can be the difference between life and death.
It's very important to give 9-1-1 operators the most accurate information possible, to help locate a person in need.
The best detail to know is land location.
"For example, we can tell you exactly where the southeast of 13 down to 50 range one west of the third is, that isn't going to move," said director of emergency response Duane McKay.
With Saskatchewan's average farm size constantly growing, it's very hard for farmers to keep track of land locations.
Last year, Terry Palaschak's father died instantly in an accident on his farm near Cadillac.
He used his cell phone to call 9-1-1 and gave the operator physical directions to where he was, but she kept asking for a land location.
"I flat out told the dispatcher to tell the ambulance drivers to go east down my road, because I knew I was going to know at least two of the three," said Palaschak.
But paramedics weren't given his instructions and it took them about 45 minutes to arrive.
"Now I know the exact land location because it's burned in my head," he said.
9-1-1 operators are able to trace exact locations if callers use a land line, but cell phones can only be traced to certain towers.
But that could change soon, thanks to technology.
"Probably within about 18 months we will actually have the GPS location that is recorded in the phone and transmitted into the 9-1-1 centre," said McKay.
"We'll be able to tell to within a few metres, where that telephone is sitting."
But Palaschak is still concerned the technology won't help in certain situations.
"Where I was at there was no cell coverage, I had to drive to get spotty cell coverage," he said.
"That's the unfortunate reality of being out in the middle of nowhere."
The GPS location technology is expected to be available within the next year and a half.
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