Valley 911 center gets upgrade

We all have them.

Those little devices that keep us connected to the world 24/7.

Cell phones can be helpful|especially during an emergency ...but what happens when they fail?

With more and more people relying on cell phones, 911 centers across the nation have to adapt to ever changing technology.

As of May of this year we implemented this Phase 2 technology, said Sergio Casgro with McAllen's 911 call center. That technology allows us to track cell phone calls to an approximate location of where the call is coming from.

Casgro said 80 percent of their calls come from cell phones.

The new technology helps them locate someone calling from a wireless phone.

Some cell phones use satellites to pick up GPS coordinates, said Casgro. Your coordinates are what gives us that location.

But not all phones use satellites. Many use towers and that is when the problems set in.

Your cell phone might not pickup reception for a particular tower in the City of McAllen, said Casgro. That tower might be busy so it jumps to the next tower or next tower. By that time you TMre already in Pharr or San Juan.

Casgro said even though this technology is not perfect, it has improved the response time of emergency personnel and had made getting to someone (who doesn TMt know their location) a little easier.