Technical Assistance

Phone Capabilities & Limitations

The type of phone a caller is using, as well as the natural state of the area a caller is calling from, affects the type of information 9-1-1 dispatchers have access to. Awareness of the following can affect how you reach a 9-1-1 dispatcher:

Hardwired Landline Phones

  • Will provide 9-1-1 dispatchers with your address and phone number
  • Uninterrupted service in electrical outages
  • Non-operational during telephone outages

Portable Landline Phones

  • Will provide 9-1-1 dispatchers with your address and phone number as long as there is no electrical or phone outages
  • Have a limited range of use (house, garage)
  • Talk button must be pressed before/after dialing 9-1-1
  • Will not work in an electrical outage

Cell Phones

East Texans calling 9-1-1 on their cell phones may now receive quicker emergency response due to the launch of Wireless Phase II (WP2), which sends emergency dispatchers the caller's latitude and longitude coordinates. Under WP2, cell phone companies provide Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) dispatchers with the actual location of a caller within distances mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. Prior to the launch of WP2, cellular service providers could only identify the tower location the call came from, and the call back number.  
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Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
Deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired customers may contact Relay Texas: 800-735-2989 (TTY) and 711 (Voice). Equal opportunity is the law.