How far can 9-1-1 dispatchers track your call?

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- If we get in a dangerous situation, one question many of us wonder about is how can dispatchers locate you if your cell phone is out of a service area?

Cellphones, something we're always on and constantly using especially when we're in danger. Oftentimes we call the 9-1-1 hotline for help.

The Dothan-Houston County Emergency Operations Center takes more than 5000 calls a month and roughly more than a 100 a day.

One major role employees must do is keep a good composure plays a major role for dispatchers.

Taylor Williams says “We're kind of like the first line of communication for people so we set the tone as far as when officers get there. We can either make it better mood for them or we can make it worse just depending on how we handle the situation."

Dispatchers want callers to keep in mind that every detail matters.
Who? What? When and Where? So they can better assist you.

Taylor also says " Usually the first plot will be from the tower closest too and it'll show up on our screen a circle of a general vicinity where everyone is or where you are and it tells us an accurate range that its 90 percent accurate and how many feet of the tower depending on the plot. "

But if you have a deactivated phone or one out of service, you can still call 9-1-1 but it becomes extremely hard to pinpoint your exact location.

A search then begins around the "vicinity" of the call to help isolate the location.

So the answer to narrowing down your location all depends on the cell tower and longitude and latitude of the map.

Dispatchers say hopefully in the new generation of 911 advanced technology will help GPS systems do a better job in tracking the exact location, but as of right now you should be observant of all your surroundings.