Trackable 111 calls to benefit disabled

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By Hunter Calder

It's a vital service that'll soon be able to access your location when you call on a mobile phone.

An amendment to the law has made it possible for 111 calls to be automatically traced - benefiting emergency callers who are unable to locate themselves.

For Elizabeth Raine, who is intellectually disabled, has spina bifida and several other disabilities, being able to be located easily in an emergency is crucial.

"It'll be a really good idea to have the GPS, so I can get tracked and I can stay on my cellphone until somebody comes for me."

Her mother, Dawn Raine, says it'll be beneficial for people like her daughter and others who experience difficulty speaking for themselves.

"It really is a peace of mind because she would have great difficulty explaining what the situation was and so for her to be just say that's she's disabled and needs help, whether its for me or its for herself. I think it would be really really good""

And it's not only going to benefit people who have difficulty with speaking. It'll be useful for people who are lost or new to an area - and may mean the difference between life and death for some.

"With Elizabeth her health deteriorates really fast she can she be fine like she is now and within the next half hour we're calling an ambulance, so for us that GPS system, that will be really really handy," Mrs Raine says.

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The new system will not replace the need for emergency callers to confirm their location - it is just an added way of allowing call takers to verify the mobile phone caller's location.

Inspector Tony Wakelin Says from the Northern Communications Centre says it's not often that callers are unable to identify where they are.

"It does happen on occasion, it is not a frequent occurrence, we have well trained call takers who are well trained to take that information and illicit locations from people but it does happen unfortunately where we are unable to locate where the incident is happening immediately."

Emergency responders Local Focus spoke to say the new state of the art system will be beneficial.

Previously location information data had to be requested from the telecommunications companies. It took time and could be refused if it was considered a privacy breach.

With the new service the location information will only be available for about 30 minutes and the Privacy Commissioner has put boundaries in place for how the information can be used and who is able to access it.

For those that are limited with speech or hearing difficulties there's also a text emergency service available, but users of this service have to register first online at the police website.

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