The 9-1-1 Department of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Councilprovides support services and equipment for 9-1-1 Call Centers in Hidalgo and Willacy Counties. Our 18 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) are located at (and staffed by) area police departments, fire stations, and the sheriffs office.

When a 9-1-1 call comes in – the location of the caller is displayed automatically often with information provided by the telephone company – which may by outdated. It’s critical to confirm as quickly as possible where the emergency is so that the correct responders for that area are dispatched with without delay. The type of emergency may require transfer or conference calls to Fire Fighters, EMS, DPS, Law Enforcement, or even helicopter services, which often use different types of equipment. LRGVDC 9-1-1 helps provide addresses, data, maps, audits, contracts, equipment, information, maintenance, networks, and improvements that enable the whole process to work together.

Most emergency calls are made from cell phones or smart phones, (about 80%). The cell tower system used by the many wireless service providers changes dynamically during the course of the day. During rush hour traffic calls might be received by more distant cell towers in a neighboring city or in the county. If you call standing next to a metal building or trailer, your call could be picked up by a tower that’s outside your area requiring a transfer to your local 9-1-1 Call Center. Usually the 9-1-1 system provides your location based on GPS or triangulation. If you’re inside a building where GPS satellites are blocked, then the call will show the location of the cell tower relaying the call instead of the callers actual location. So it’s vital to tell each call taker who handles your call where the emergency is located, especially when a call is transferred. We help bring together the many agencies and systems involved to get your call to those responders that can best assist.

Regular landline telephones automatically provide the street address of the telephone installation, which is stored in a state run confidential database called “9-1-1Net.” When a 9-1-1 call comes in, the telephone number is used to pull information from 9-1-1Net. When city boundaries change, the responders for a 9-1-1 call may change; including, ambulance service based on business contracts. We work with city and county secretaries, planning, mapping, right-of-way, code enforcement and appraisal districts to make updates in the 9-1-1 database, such as address or street name changes.

The location information you provide your telephone company may change many times due to municipal changes. Please help us keep your address information current by updating your location information with your telephone company. Your physical address can be very different than your postal address, such as a PO Box, Cluster Box, or a postal City & Zip Code for the Post Office that delivers your mail — instead of where you live. Physical addresses are sometimes called “civic” or “situs” (site) addresses. Please confirm with your telephone company that they put your current physical address in the 9-1-1 database and not a postal or billing address.

To cut down on time and mistakes during calls, 9-1-1 Dispatchers are given an automatic display of the caller’s address information displayed and pin-pointed on a map. Working with Hidalgo and Willacy counties, we help property owners and residents in rural areas and towns obtain addresses to get services such as driver’s licenses, telephone, and cable. Likewise, we collect city assigned address, street, and city boundary data, which is converted for use by the 9-1-1 Call Center equipment. Our staff actually develops the official rural maps used for these counties.