The Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization on Wednesday passed Assembly Bill 510 by Assembly members Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, and Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, which seeks to eliminate unnecessary delays in receiving emergency care for callers who contact 9-1-1 from a cell phone.

“People die if 9-1-1 calls are not accurately located. This has been the result in my district too many times,” Williams said. “It’s the state’s responsibility to bring the 9-1-1 system into the 21st century and provide reliable, accurate location information. This simple fact and the need to preserve life and public safety is the driving force behind this hearing.”

Each year, Californians place approximately 25 million 9-1-1 calls, two-thirds of which are made from wireless devices. In 2013, the California Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association found that more than half of all California’s wireless 9-1-1 calls were being delivered to answering points without location information.

“When someone calls 9-1-1, every second counts,” Rodriguez said. “It is alarming that, in an age where cell phones are so prevalent in our society, our 9-1-1 systems are not able to pinpoint a callers location. This bill, and the hearing we are holding tomorrow, will help to fix the system and prevent any further unnecessary losses of life.”

In 2014, a 24-year-old Santa Barbara woman died after experiencing a delay in receiving emergency medical care when a 9-1-1 call placed by a family member in her home was routed to Ventura instead of Santa Barbara. Also in 2014, police were not immediately able to locate a San Bernardino woman who called 9-1-1 from a cell phone after being shot in her apartment. Rescuers used longitude and latitude information to narrow down her location and eventually found the victim deceased after 20 minutes of searching.

The Select Committee on Local Emergency Preparedness, chaired by Rodriguez, will hold an information hearing “9-1-1 Location Accuracy: Will Rescuers Know Where You Are?” at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 9 in Room 126 of the California Capitol.

— Anett Hurtado is a field representative for Assemblyman Das Williams.