GPS device, dispatcher help rescue Jones County woman

Shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, a frantic 911 call came into the Jones County Emergency Operations Center.

The call was from a young female driver who ran off the road and crashed. She was trapped, stranded, and dazed. Her car had overturned and trapped the Laurel woman inside her vehicle in a patch of grass of Highway 28. The driver told the dispatcher she was by Highway 28, but she was not sure exactly where she was.

The dispatcher, using a 911 computer system, told the driver to stay on her cell phone, and that help would be near. In just moments, help arrived.

Calhoun Volunteer Fire and Rescue Personnel, Jones County Sheriff's Department and EMServ Ambulance service were dispatched to a remote area off HWY 28. They were able to track down the victim by GPS.

"They were using their technology they have at the Emergency Operations Center to trace down where the exact location was," said Lee Garick, Chief of Calhoun Fire and Rescue.

"They traced down where the exact location was by the GPS coordinates off her cell phone."

The search radius on the 911 GPS system reduced from 5 miles, to about 100 yards by using GPS data from the driver's cell phone. The dark green car was upside down in the woods, and hardly visible. Within four minutes of being dispatched, a first responder saw a glimpse of light in the woods; it was the lights of the young driver's vehicle.

Within 15 minutes, they freed the young woman from her car. She was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Rodney Parker, Deputy Director for Emergency Management says rescues are much easier than they were a few years ago, thanks to technology.

"Now, since September 11, 2012, we're able to gather enough info from the telephone they're using to pinpoint their location," Parker said.

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