iPhone update could improve 911 response time

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new iOS update to your iPhone could help save your life in the event of an emergency.

Up until now, it's always been a struggle for 911 operators to pinpoint someone's location when they call from a cellphone. In its newest update, Apple hopes to eliminate that problem.

iOS version 11.3, which is available for many iPhone users now, utilizes advanced technology to help first responders figure out where the emergency is happening.

"It's a tremendous step in the right direction," National Emergency Number Association CEO Brian Fontes said.

The iPhone update includes technology known as Advanced Mobile Location (AML). It takes data from your phone's GPS and WiFi chips and automatically transmits that information to the 911 dispatch center.

Fontes said that transmitted location is extremely accurate. It's able to identify not only the street address from where the call is coming from but also the floor of the building and what room the phone is located.

The downside? The technology is only being widely used in Europe. In the U.S. only a select few dispatch centers have the ability to use AML.

According to a post on Facebook, Shelby County dispatchers tested the service with the help of Memphis Police Department.

After working out some kinks, they were able to pinpoint the location of a call within a four-story structure.

"If you can identify the location of the caller sooner, then the opportunity to try to save life occurs more quickly," Fontes said.

Shelby County Dispatchers said they hope to learn more about the technology during a conference in Nashville this June.

If you have an Android phone, the AML technology is already used in your cell phone.

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