New public service campaign in Dare County to protect tourists

Posted June 23, 2014

— A new public service campaign on the North Carolina coast is encouraging vacationers to know the address of where they’re staying.

“Know Your Location” was created by Lora Nock, assistant director of Dare County 911, for tourists who vacation in the area.

In May, when a fire broke out at the Slash Creek condos in Hatteras, the caller was unable to communicate her location. The caller told the dispatcher, “There’s a fire at the … where are we? This whole apartment is on fire … I don’t even know where we are.”

It took two minutes before dispatchers could figure out the location of the woman.

It’s common for tourists not to know their exact location when taking trips. What most people don’t know is that cell phone technology can’t tell 911 operators where you are, only a land-line phone can do that reliably.

Angela DiGiosaffatte took a trip to the Outer Banks with her seven-month-old daughter and said if an accident happened she would use her cell phone. However, if the dispatcher asked her for the address of her location she said, “I think its 4700 something North Croatan. I don’t know!”

Rebecca Cook is a 911 telecommunicator and said that confusion is common.

“It’s frustrating,” she said. “One out of two calls is probably somebody that doesn’t know where they are at.”

A 911 operator can only peg your location based on where a cell phone tower is, which may be a mile away or in a completely different county.

Nock said, “Our telecommunications are trying to get the word out as well: Know Your Location.”

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  • Ijaz Fahted Jun 24, 2014
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    Excellent thinking there!! I got to thinking about it and I too would be a little lost when trying to give directions to a vacation property if an emergency arose.