Franklin County is moving forward with plans to more accurately direct 911 calls originating from cellphones.
Currently, all 911 cellphone calls go to the county’s dispatching center, located in the county sheriff’s office in Union.
That is done by having calls which go to a specific cell- phone tower — in this case all of the towers located in the county — directed to a specific public safety answering point.
Technology has improved since the county implemented that procedure, said Vince Zagarri, Franklin County interim 911 director.
Now, specific quadrants or directions of a tower can be filtered to go to different answering points, or PSAPs.
Zagarri said the technology to direct specific sectors didn’t exist when the county initially implemented 911 for cellphones.
Since roughly 70 percent of all 911 calls in the county originate from cellphones, the sheriff’s department handles the bulk of the calls, even though there are four PSAPs — in Union, Sullivan, Pacific and Washington — in Franklin County.
Zagarri said the county plans to redirect some sections of a tower or two in the Washington area to send calls directly to Washington’s PSAP.
“We’ll have to look and see if the redirecting is more efficient,” he said.
Currently, calls from Washington are directed to the county’s PSAP, which then transfers the calls back to the Washington PSAP.
Zagarri said changing the routing is only being done as a test for now, and that’s why the only carrier being redirected will be AT&T.
There are five carriers which provide direct or leased service in the county — AT&T, U.S. Cellular, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint. Other cellphone service providers such as Boost Mobile and Cricket sublease existing infrastructure from one of those companies.