Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Herriman Fire Demonstrates Need to Register Cell Phones with 911

When officials needed to evacuate thousands of Herriman residents endangered by wildfires on September 19, the Valley Emergency Communications Center (VECC), which administers 911, called the residents.  VECC has all the landline phone numbers of residents in its jurisdiction, but only has cell phone or voice over internet numbers of people who have registered them.  People without landlines or registered alternate numbers did not receive the call.

Photo courtesy of Cornelia Cannon and Connor Shutt
It is important to register your cell phone with 911 if you live or work in an area where a cell phone registry is offered by the local 911 service provider. 911 may be able to use this information to contact you during a large-scale emergency such as the Herriman fire. It may also help identify your location when you call 911 during a more isolated emergency, such as a heart attack or a crime at your residence or workplace.

Utah has a the second-highest proportion of people who use only cell phones instead of land lines.  Preliminary data from the Utah BRFSS suggest that cell phone-only households are even more prevalent among Utah minorities than statewide.

Here are the links to cell phone registries in some Utah areas.  Outside of these areas, contact your local fire department or local police station to learn how to register your cell phone.

 Location  How to Register Your Cell Phone
Salt Lake City  www.slcalert.com.
Other parts of Salt Lake County
Beaver County http://www.beaverutahsheriff.com/Forms/r911.html
Iron County http://www.ironcounty.net/departments/EmergencyManagement/r911/registration_form.cfm
Washington County  https://washingtoncounty.onthealert.com/

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