Have you ever happened to be in an emergency situation? The most probable thing you'd do first is dial 911, right? But what if your phone system isn't E911 compliant? In order to avoid this inconvenience, you need to learn how important it is to choose a VoIP service that is E911 compliant.
HOW DOES IT WORK
E911 simply means Enhanced 911. It is a North America telephone network feature that's intended for emergency purposes only. It automatically connects a caller's phone number with his/her location. This is done via digital telephone directories, which are usually provided by telephone companies. There is a special software that links the caller's line with their street address. This software allows emergency providers to garner information about the person's location without needing to ask from the caller. This is very useful, most especially in cases of fire outbreaks, burglary, kidnapping, and situations where the help is needed urgently and there's no time and condition to explain where you're located.
THE EVOLUTION OF E911
The E911 is not a modern innovation or technology. It has been in use since 1968. Overtime, it has undergone lots of upgrades and improvements, one of which is extended support for wireless and VoIP callers, enabling them to makes calls to the service during emergency situations. This support has been included since 2005.
There are currently some next generation upgrades in a process for the E911 service. The aim is to move the entire 911 platform to IP networks nationwide. This is actually not an easy task, so do not expect it to be executed soon; in other words, keep your expectations low for now.
According to the Nation Emergency Number Association (NENA), there are plans to design an emergency system that's based on IP networks, IP-based software services and applications, databases, and data management processes, all interconnected with the public safety answering point premise equipment. The system routes the calls to the nearest emergency center based on the location of the caller.
WIRELINE VS. WIRELESS EMERGENCY
The main difference between the wireline and wireless emergency services is the availability of data. The latter provides more data, which simply means that the determination of the caller's exact location is more than possible. Today's emergency system is trying to make more improvements by making use of IP technologies and enabling access to more valuable data including building floor plans and health information.
There's also another key improvement that makes the wireless emergency service stand out from the old type. We are talking about no missing of emergency calls. If the nearest emergency center happens to be unavailable for one reason or the other, the call can be transferred to any call center or an authorized call center across the country. For instance, they can either dispatch firefighters, inform the nearest call center to bring them, or take appropriate emergency action.
In short, the new emergency system aims for 100% uptime service.
The new system makes use of standardized user-friendly interfaces for emergency calls and messages, and at the same time, collects and integrates other useful data for exact call routing and appropriate emergency responses.
THE RULES FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM EMERGENCY SITUATIONS
What should you do?
- Provide your interconnected VoIP service provider with your correct physical addresses.
- Always make address updates according to your VoIP provider's instructions.
- Have a full understanding of your 911 service limitations
- Make sure your phone has enough battery life and is connected to the internet.
- Install a backup power supply, maintain a traditional phone line, etc.
- Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) are currently not equipped with text, photo, and video messaging features.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING YOUR VOIP VENDOR
The E911 system automatically provides an emergency service personnel with a 911 caller's call back number, and in most cases, information about the caller's location.
- Ensure that the 911 call is routed to the appropriate PSAP in areas where emergency service providers are incapable of identifying your location.
- VoIP service providers that cannot connect to the PSTN are currently not required to comply with the FCC's 911 and E911 rules.
E911 VOIP LIMITATIONS
If you are a VoIP user, it is very important that you become aware of your provider's E911 limitations.
- You are responsible for providing a valid physical address
- If you change your location, ensure that you update your address immediately, otherwise, the 911 feature will not function properly.
- E911 will not function in case of power loss or disruption. Once the power is restored, ensure that you reset or reconfigure your VoIP device so as to reactivate the 911 feature.
- You cannot make use of the 911 feature if your VoIP account is suspended.
- There may be late responses to your emergency call due to network issues.
With the increase of internet bandwidth and the expansion of mobile phones, the wireless emergency service is having a good advantage over the wireline emergency service. Also, VoIP providers ensure that they systematically improve their E911 services. With Velantro, you will be rest assured knowing that your emergency call service is just a click away.