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How to get help from a cell phone

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I covered a story this week that was a good reminder for all of us. A woman had gotten lost, run off the road and had no idea where she was. She could hear traffic nearby, but, had an injured leg and couldn't crawl for help and her vehicle was barely visible.

Since she didn't know where she was, had no idea what street she was near, couldn't even tell 911 a nearby landmark, so it took two hours to find her.

Deputies and firefighters from seven different agencies drove miles and miles, turning on their sirens, hoping she could hear them and they could pinpoint her location.

It was a massive effort that involved tremendous teamwork and communication and everyone was relieved when it ended happily.

Even though, in Tulsa County, we've been paying for E-911 on our cell phones, we still don't have the service. E-911 service means they know where you are. We already have E-911 in our homes. Since we don't have it yet, if you don't know where you are when you call from a cell phone, neither does help.

It is critical that you are able to give 911 some type of idea where you are. Even better, tell someone where you're going and what route you are taking. That woman is lucky her cell phone battery was fully charged and that she wasn't more seriously injured and that emergency responders refused to give up. When they finally tracked her down, she was nowhere near where she thought. She thought she was east, but, she was north.

I know lots of people aren't good at directions (my lovely mother is one of them), so, it is critical to pay attention as you drive. If you see a hotel or a fire station, make a note of it. You never know when something is going to happen. You never know when that landmark could mean the difference between life and death.

I, for one, am very ready for E-911 for cell phones to be a reality. We voted for it, we're paying for it, we should have it. I know if I were shoved into the trunk of a car and only had my cell phone, I'd want 911 to be able to track me down as soon as possible.

However, until we have the service, it's on us to make sure we can get help for ourselves. or someone else who may need it.

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