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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 19 January 2022

Isolated in an emergency? This new service will help first responders find you faster

Minister Denis Naughten said the service would be a great help in rural Ireland.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE GOVERNMENT HAS launched a new service that will help emergency services determine your exact location when you call them.

Once you dial 112 or 999, a new location system will determine where you are making the phone call from and alert the emergency services.

Advanced Mobile Location (AML) works by finding a phone’s GPS coordinates and sends a text to the call centre that received the call. This is then passed on to the first responders to help locate you.

Minister for Communications Denis Naughten told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the system has been able to pinpoint a person’s location “to within 10 metres” in some case.

“It’s been developed in conjunction with Google, and it’s on all Android phones,” he said.

The service is automatic, and doesn’t require users to put on location services on the phone. It is meant to be used alongside someone’s eircode, not to replace it entirely.

“The advantage for this is in isolated rural areas,” Naughten said. He described a situation where he was in the Wicklow mountains and came across a cyclist who’d been injured in a fall but couldn’t pinpoint an exact location to tell emergency services.

The minister said: “It will mean emergency services can get to emergencies far quicker, be it the gardaí, fire service or ambulance service.”

Although currently only on Android phones, Naughten said he hoped that other phone companies would come on board with the service. People with Android phones do not need to do anything to be able to use this service, as it is built into software from Google Play Services version 9.0 onwards.

The emergency call answering service receives on average 4,000 calls from mobiles every day, and the minister said that around half of mobiles are Android devices.

He said that the data gathered would only be used in emergency calls, and that no information would be stored or kept.

“It will be of huge benefit in rural Ireland,” he added.

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Sean Murray

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