PA To Install Cell Tracking Technology

This is the sort of thing that makes me wonder how we got along before cell phones at all (from a purely emergency standpoint). Michael Cowden of the Associated Press (via BusinessWeek) writes:

You pass an accident on a lonely stretch of highway at night. You call 911 on your cell phone to report it but don’t know exactly where you are. Soon that won’t be a problem in Cambria County, where emergency officials said they plan to install technology allowing county 911 dispatchers to track where emergency calls are placed.

The city of Allentown and nine counties have such technology, but other counties do not – placing the state well behind the rest of the country in emergency response capabilities.

About one-third of Pennsylvania residents live in areas capable of locating 911 cell phone callers precisely, according to recent data from the National Emergency Number Association. Only Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah, Hawaii and Ohio fared worse. In Oklahoma, only about 1 percent of state residents are covered; in Ohio, the figure is only about 4 percent.

“Compared to national statistics, the state is certainly lagging behind,” said Patrick Halley, governmental affairs director at the National Emergency Number Association