Washington, DC – President George W. Bush signed homeland security legislation improving the nation’s 9-1-1 capabilities into law on December 23, 2004.
Bundled into a telecommunications legislative package (H.R. 5419) and passed in the final moments of the 108th Congress on December 8, the ENHANCE 911 Act of 2004, (Ensuring Needed Help Arrives Near Callers Employing 911 Act), was sponsored by the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Congressional E9-1-1 Caucus and championed by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).
The ENHANCE 911 Act is a key measure for the nation’s 9-1-1 systems and the deployment of life-saving technology that helps the nation’s Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) determine the location of wireless callers dialing 9-1-1. As wireless phones have proliferated, the volume of wireless 9-1-1 calls has increased. Depending on the local area, 25 to 60 percent of all calls to 9-1-1 come from wireless phones, for a total of nearly 140 million nationwide. Yet most local call centers lack the technology needed to pinpoint callers’ location so that help can be sent quickly.
The establishment of a 9-1-1 Coordination Office within the Executive Branch is an important step to better equip our nation’s 9-1-1 public safety answering points response to calls for help, from everywhere, anytime with any device. In addition to reporting implementation progress and making recommendations to Congress on E-911 needs, the Office will also administer new federal cost-share grants to state and local E-911 agencies to assist with E-911 implementation and operations.