Technology helps 911 dispatchers find people who need help using their cellphone GPS

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. - Calling 911 for help in an emergency can be hard enough, but imagine not being able to tell dispatchers your location.

When someone calls 911 from a landline, the dispatchers receive information showing the caller's name, phone number and home address.

When a cellphone user calls 911, the dispatcher receives what's known as "Phase One" information. That information includes the cellphone number and the address of the cellphone tower that delivered the call, which could be miles away. "Phase Two" information gives dispatchers the caller's 'X' and 'Y' coordinate to plot on a map.

"(We can) pinpoint almost exactly, within 100 meters of where they're at," said Douglas County Undersheriff Tony Spurlock.

Nathan and Stefanie Simpson, a couple from Peyton, east of Colorado Springs, helped Douglas County dispatchers put Phase Two technology in action last month.

The Simpsons were driving on Highway 83 to get to Parker so Stefanie could give birth to their fourth child, except the child didn't want to wait.

Nathan had to call 911 as he drove just north of County Line Road on Highway 83.

"[The 911 operator] told me that he needed me to pull over so that he could triangulate my position," said Nathan.

"I've got their Phase Two [location] showing on (Highway) 83 south of Jones Road," said an El Paso County dispatcher.

Since the Simpsons were already in Douglas County, the El Paso County dispatcher handed the call off to a Douglas County dispatcher who asked Nathan if he knew where he was.

"I see Pikes Peak from the South and there's nothing else. There's some houses up there…," said Nathan on the 911 call.

"Well, we've got them en route to your cellphone location and what it's showing us is Highway 83 just south of Jones Road," said the dispatcher.

"Yup. Sure. I don't know where Jones Road is, but that sounds right," said Nathan.

They had pulled over on Highway 83 just north of mile marker 34.

"It was nerve-racking," said Stefanie. "You don't want to deliver your baby on the side of the road. You want to be in a hospital or have a midwife. They had it pinpointed like right on the dot."

The couple's three young daughters were in the car with them as the Douglas County dispatcher talked Nathan through the labor.

"I can see the baby now. I can see the baby now," Nathan said on the 911 call.

"When we first moved here, everybody said, 'Oh, you're going to have the baby on the side of the road,' and we're like, 'No, we're not. No we're not, but just in case, I know where every fire station is along the route,'" said Nathan.

About 12 minutes after the 911 call began, emergency responders arrived.

"I hear the sirens. I hear the sirens, so they're getting close," said Nathan on the 911 call.

"OK, I'm going to stay on the phone with you until they get there with you, OK?" said the Douglas County dispatcher.

"Here comes the baby!" said Nathan on the 911 call. "I can almost see all of the head. There she is."

"I want you to be sure the umbilical cord is not wrapped around the baby's neck," said the dispatcher.

"It's another girl," said Nathan said on the 911 call.

Said Stefanie, "Just having them come and when they did and take over how they did, it was just perfect."

By the end of the experience, dad delivered his new daughter, Caroline.

"It's going to be something we talk about with her and with our family for a long time, because it was completely different," said Stefanie. "Great car, you can drive it all over the place and have babies in it."

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