What is E911 (Enhanced 911) for VoIP and How Does It Work?

Enhanced 911, E-911 or E911 is a North American telecommunications based system that automatically associates a physical address with the calling party’s telephone number, and routes the call to the most appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for that address. The caller’s address and information is displayed to the calltaker immediately upon call arrival.

E911 provides emergency responders with the location of the emergency without the person calling for help having to provide it. This is often useful in times of fires, break-ins, kidnapping, and other events where communicating one’s location is difficult or impossible.

The system only works in North America if the emergency telephone number 911 is called. Calls made to other telephone numbers, even though they may be listed as an emergency telephone number, may not permit this feature to function correctly. 

With more and more companies switching to VoIP hosted PBX companies, it is vital that they understand how important it is to keep the physical location for your phone updated at all times with your VoIP hosted PBX provider. Since the E911 address does not change when the phone is moved to another location, it is up to the user to contact their provider to update the address.

Here are some tips to be sure your E911 physical location shows up when you need it during an emergency:

  • Make sure that you choose a VoIP hosted PBX company that is E911 compliant
  • Make sure your VoIP phones are pre-provisioned with their own E911 physical address
  • Just press 911 on your phone to contact emergency services
  • Be sure that when your VoIP phone is moved to a new location, that you contact your VoIP PBX provider and give  them the new physical address

Having an up to date E911 physical address for each of your VoIP phones could save lives

Estimates based on Department of Labor statistics indicate that more than 60 million Americans working in or visiting office buildings, office campuses, hospitals and government buildings do not have the same 911 protection that they have at home.

This is very alarming. And, not all VoIP hosted PBX providers are E911 compliant.

Sixteen states have now enacted E911 legislation requiring enterprises over a certain size, occupying multiple floors of a building or those purchasing a new PBX to implement E911 to protect their employees and visitors.

Help keep your business and your employees safe. Keep your E911 information for each of your VoIP hosted PBX phones current. And make sure that you only go with a company that offers E911 service standard on all their accounts.

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