DTMF and Important 911 (APCO) Information

May 07, 2010

DTMF (Dual Tone Multi-Frequency)

Important 9-1-1 Information
Dial 9-1-1 in case of emergency. If you encounter a prerecorded message instead of a live operator, wait for the appropriate prompt and say “EMERGENCY” instead of pressing 1. Not all wireless phones transmit number tones during a 911 call.

Some Sprint Nextel customers reported trouble reaching a live 911 operator in Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties in Oregon. When Sprint investigated the cause of these complaints, we learned that these counties had implemented an Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) to screen 911 calls. Sprint Nextel learned that IVRs also are used in Reno, Nevada, and by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to validate emergency situations. When dialing 911, callers in these areas must either press 1 or state “emergency” to be connected to a 911 operator. When the “1” is pressed, a special tone, referred to as dual tone multi-frequency (DTMF), typically transmits information over the voice circuit.

There are cell phones that cannot access, or have a limited ability to access, DTMF when a 911 call is made. Certain Motorola-manufactured iDEN handsets have had DTMF tones block to avoid over-dialing when placing a 911 call. This safety feature was incorporated by Motorola prior to learning that automated response systems were being used to respond to 911 calls. Motorola and Sprint Nextel have modified the DTMF 911 override in the next series of iDEN handsets Motorola manufactures.

To reach a 911 operator, always wait for the appropriate prompt and say “EMERGENCY” instead of pressing 1.

Handsets that may have DTMF Blocking Handset Models Impacted Software Versions i450/i455/*i560 All (except R4C.01.02) i760 All (except R3E.01.02) i850/i855 All (except R3D.01.02) i605 All (except R2F.01.03) i275 All (except R3F.01.02) i415 All (except R4A.01.02) i265 All (except R3B.01.01) i205/i305 All (except R1F.00.07) i285 All (except R2D.00.10) i315 All (except R1B.00.07) i833/i836/i835 ROM9 MR2 All (except R2B.03.04) i860 MR7 All (except R1C.02.04) i870/i875 All (except R5B.02.00) i325/i325IS MR6 All (except R1A.01.07) i355 All (except R4A.01.02) i355 EVI To be Determined

Follow these instructions to determine your phone software:

  1. In a quick manner press the following keys on your phone in this order: #, *, MENU, right arrow on the four-way navigation key.
  2. When the trace mode screen appears, highlight UNIT INFO.
  3. Press “View” or “OK.”
  4. Scroll to Software and press “Select” or “OK.”

If you have one of these handsets and would like to check your software version for updates please visit https://direct.motorola.com/hellomoto/nss/softwarecheck.asp. If you do not have web access please see your local Sprint service & repair center or press *2 on your Sprint handset for the location of the nearest service center.

Many customers have accepted the handset software update over the air already and some may receive a request for an update in the future. If you are prompted by your handset “IMPORTANT improvement for E911 calls – FREE Software Available”, please choose Y to “Install Now”.


APCO International- Project LOCATE
Helping to Locate Our Citizens in Times of Emergency
To get help to you quickly, please be ready to answer these questions:

Where is the Emergency? Use road name, number direction of travel, mile markers, intersections, landmarks, etc.
What number are you calling from? Always give the area code, wireless phone number. If using a phone without service contract and the call is disconnected, YOU must redial 911
What exactly has happened? Clearly describe what has taken place. Ex: What is on fire? Is the person conscious and breathing? Is the person visibly injured? Types and number of vehicles involved? If reporting a crime, vehicle and suspect descriptions are always important.
Call 9-1-1 ONLY when an immediate response by police/fire-rescue/medical services is required.

Enhanced Wireless 9-1-1 Services can save lives, reduce pain and suffering as well as mitigate damage to property. You can help improve services and prompt responses by:

  1. Learning the non-emergency telephone numbers in your area:
  2. Not programming your cell phone to dial 9-1-1 when just one button is depressed;
  3. Disabling the auto dial to 9-1-1 on your cell phone
  4. Locking your keyboard when the phone is not in use to avoid accidental 9-1-1 calls, which can cause the unnecessary dispatch of services.

Since Enhanced 9-1-1 Service does not work everywhere in the U.S., BEFORE purchasing any phone or service ASK the wireless service provider what location technology they have in place to assist emergency services find YOU in times of real crisis. ASK your local 9-1-1 Center if they can receive and use your 9-1-1 call location.