Knowing your location vital for a safe vacation

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — It’s a simple question, but one that could prove extremely important if you find yourself experiencing an emergency while on vacation.

It’s probably the last thing on your mind when you head to the beach for vacation, your exact location.

But emergency responders say knowing where you are can pay off if something happens.

“We have many, many miles of beach strand,” explained Rodney Cates, Carteret Co. Emergency Communications. “People that come here on vacation, typically, they see sand and the see water. It’s all beach. There’s no Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, it’s all one big area, so knowing exactly where they are pinpoints the resources that we can send to them for better and faster mitigation of their emergency.”

9 On Your Side wanted to test the theory.

“If you had to call 911 and tell them where you were, where would you tell them you were,” 9 On Your Side asked.

“I’m at the beach,” replied Fred Marlow, visitor.  Many people could not pinpoint their location. “The last thing you think is that something’s going to happen and you’re going to need to call 911,” said Brook Stepps, visitor.

First responders say it’s something you should consider though.

“The more information we can get from the people in need of help, the better off it is for us and it gives us a better reactionary time,” explained Jeff Harvey, Atlantic Beach police chief.

“Probably the best way to tell them is to get the location from your iPhone,” said Stepps.

But that’s not always the best bet.

“When that call comes into a 911 Center, it comes in with what’s called an uncertainty code that uncertainty code will plot a certain distance of exactly where that call is coming in from,” explained Cates,

Sometimes this code cannot distinguish your location either, if you’re able to connect at all.

“Three quarters of the place don’t have service,” said Fred Marlow, visitor.

Emergency responders say having your location services turned on your cell phone may help, but also being able to identify local landmarks will likely get emergency responders there more quickly.

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