Cell Phone Calls to 911

News item today on KYW news-radio is about effort to get Bucks County (Pennsylvania) 911 system enhanced to pinpoint calls from cell phones. It would be reducing the pinpointing from miles to 40 feet. A commissioner said he recently called 911 regarding an accident and identified the road he was on, but the road ran through several municipalities. So it took him some time to get to a sign for a cross street.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: This situation sounds a lot like the northwest side of Chicago. In most of the city, boundary lines between communities are clear cut: You go north or south on Western Avenue and one town is on one side of the street, Chicago is on the other. Or maybe it is Pulaski Road further west. But on the northwest side, the boundary between Chicago and some other town zigs and zags, including in some cases through a back yard or an alley between a couple other streets. One way I could tell this in the past was that Chicago's street signs are different than the suburbs, and its overhead street lights are different. Riding one day in a car with David Tamkin many years ago, going through a residential neighborhood in a suburb, all of a sudden the street lights changed to 'Chicago-style' and a block or later, they changed back to whatever suburb it was. David said to me that a little 'finger' of Chicago extended out to there.

On the same auto trip, we were on Devon Avenue way out west past Park Ridge somewhere, to me _plainly_ in a suburb. All of a sudden, as we drove through an intersection, there I see 'Chicago-style' street signs for all of two or three blocks, then it returned to 'normal'. David said the same thing was true there; looking at a street map later I found Chicago was all over the place south of there, but then this little 'finger' called Chicago stuck out there on Devon Avenue where we had been driving. I do not know how cell phones and calls to the police are handled in those places. I do know that for many years, there was _one_ phone exchange which although it was handled from the Chicago-Newcastle exchange was wired differently than others. It did _not_ handle 911 like the others: Instead of going to the Chicago Police, I think it rang to the Cook County Sheriff, or maybe it went no-where except a recorded message telling the caller to dial his local police department. That one prefix was always used for telephones 'on the wrong side of the street', etc. PAT]

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