Calling 911 from a Cell Phone

Calling 911 from a Cell Phone – Back in April, we reported that cell phone calls to 911 while within the City Limits of Aransas Pass were often routed to outside agencies. Until recently, Aransas Pass PD was an unknown to cellular services. Not anymore.

As of Monday August 24, 2015, the Aransas Pass Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) receives 911 calls from cell phones while within or immediately around the City Limits. Specifically, T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon all now recognize Aransas Pass PSAP as a 911 answering point. PD IT and Communications staff have likewise tested each system for continuity. Each of the mentioned cellular providers put a lot of time and effort in to resolving this matter quickly, once the issue had been identified.

Our findings revealed the issue stemmed all the way back around 8-10 years ago when Aransas Pass PSAP first received it’s own designation for handling 911 calls. Anytime a new PSAP comes online, certain steps need to be taken to ensure the telephone entities properly route emergency calls. Unfortunately, the step that would have notified the cellular industry was not completed.

For the past 3 years, Aransas Pass PD and these cellular services worked at isolating the problem and fixing it. We quickly learned that the issue remained on the cellular side but could not explain why. In April 2015, the cellular industries discovered the missed step and worked expediently with us to turn around a process that typically takes six months to complete.

We still want folks to realize there is no guarantee that all 911 calls will be routed to Aransas Pass’ PSAP, even while within the city limits. Therefore, it’s important to make sure to immediately announce your location when you are connected with the 911 operator. For example: “Walmart in Aransas Pass” or “911 Eighth Street, Aransas Pass.” Always provide the city or nearest city for your location.