KINGWOOD, Texas- A misrouted emergency 911 call could’ve cost a 38-year-old Texas woman her life.
The woman, who is not being identified because of privacy regulations, told dispatchers she was having trouble breathing and was sweating profusely. It was clear the woman needed urgent help, but the emergency operator had absolutely no idea where she was calling from.
The call from Kingwood, Texas was misrouted to dispatchers in Franklin, Tenn., which is 755 miles away. It lasted for nearly 30 minutes.
“The main thing was trying to keep her claim,” dispatcher Abby Gambill said. “I desperately tried to get the correct address, but there was a language barrier.”
The Kingwood woman and her family had relocated from Tennessee to Texas back in the Fall.
It turns out the address on her Internet phone account had not been updated.
The woman uses Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, which allows you to make and receive calls to and from traditional phone numbers using an Internet connection.
Dispatchers said the service can make it difficult for 911 centers to determine an automatic location for a caller. That’s because the service can be portable and can be used from any Internet connection.
In the case of the 38-year-old Kingwood woman, the system connected the address on file to the closest 911 center.
“That poses an extreme danger for you and puts emergency responders in unnecessary danger because they are responding to code-three emergency in traffic to your call,” Lt. Charles Warner with Franklin Police. Dept. said.
Emergency responders eventually made it to the Kingwood woman’s home back on Nov. 8, 2012.
Dispatchers say when you get your phone service through your cable or internet provider, it’s crucial you make sure the address on your account is current.