NATIONAL EMERGENCY NUMBER ASSOCIATION
CONTACT: Dale Curtis
202-715-1520 (office), 202-246-5659 (cell)
NOTE: The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) can provide national
and regional experts for interviews on 9-1-1 policy.
Washington, November 4, 2003 — The
U.S. House of Representatives today approved a bill that promises to speed
technology upgrades at thousands of 9-1-1 emergency call centers across
The E9-1-1 Implementation Act of 2003 (H.R. 2898), offered by Reps. John
Shimkus (R-IL) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), would authorize federal matching grants
to state, local and tribal governments for upgrades of 9-1-1 equipment, infrastructure,
and personnel training at designated public safety answering points (PSAPs).
States would not be eligible to receive the grants if they are misusing the
revenues from existing telephone bill surcharges that are designated for
9-1-1 improvements. The bill also would establish a federal 9-1-1 office
to ensure better coordination among federal, state and local public safety
officials. The bill was approved by a unanimous voice vote of the full House.
"E9-1-1" refers to the ability to capture precise location data from
callers and route calls to the closest emergency response centers. According
to NENA’s preliminary assessment of the most recent filings at the
Federal Communications Commission by wireless carriers, as of October
1, about 18 percent of the nation’s 9-1-1 call centers can automatically
obtain the precise location of some wireless callers, compared to 93 percent
that can locate wireline callers. The 18 percent figure is up sharply from
2 percent at the end of 2002, but carriers and local public safety agencies
still have a long way to go to implement this life-saving technology for
all wireless consumers in all U.S. communities.
"Enabling our 9-1-1 system to accurately locate wireless callers will benefit
every American family and community, while enhancing our homeland security," said
Richard Taylor, president of the National Emergency Number Association
(NENA) and executive director of the North Carolina Wireless 911 Board. "We
applaud the House’s action today and urge the Senate to follow suit
Companion legislation (S. 1250) offered by Sens. Conrad Burns (R-MT) and
Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee in July
and could come to the full Senate for a vote before the end of the year.
A not-for-profit corporation, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA)
is the only organization dedicated solely to the study, advancement and implementation
of 9-1-1 as America's universal emergency number. For more information, visit
www.nena.org. Another helpful site is www.e911institute.org.