Why Does E911 Matter?

Any organization that utilizes a multi-line telephone system places the end-user at risk if action has not been taken to ensure that E911 specific location information is being pushed out and routed to the correct 9-1-1 Center with any outgoing emergency call.

As communication technologies within organizations have advanced, the complications surrounding the issue of E911 have only increased. Organizations often don’t realize that action must be taken on their part to ensure that an outgoing 9-1-1 call will have accurate location and route to the correct PSAP. Legislation has been enacted in seventeen states and is pending in several others holding the organization legally liable, to varying degrees. Recent tragic events that have occurred within organizations where E911 has not been proactively addressed has led the FCC to issue a Notice of Inquiry regarding Multi-Line Telephone Systems, with a statement issued in 2014 by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai that the tragedies “will not be in vain if we can take action to ensure that whenever someone calls 9-1-1, they connect with emergency personnel. Over the coming weeks and months, that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

The time is now for organizations to take action in ensuring the E911 safety of their people.

What does E911 Provide?

When a user dials 9-1-1 from within an enterprise telephone system, the billing address of the organization is likely the information that will be pushed out to the Public Safety Answering Point if measures have not been taken to implement for E911. E911 allows organizations to create automatic location records (ALI) for every telephone or every Emergency Response Location (ERL). E911 ensures the delivery of a detailed location record to the correct PSAP, providing emergency responders with the knowledge of the office, floor, or building in which the emergency is actually occurring.

What Steps Should I Take?

As you begin to assess the current E911 scenario with your phone system, ask these questions:

Can a 9-1-1 call be made from any telephone device without requiring that an access code be dialed first?
If the number ‘9’ or any other digit must be dialed before 9-1-1, it presents a safety hazard. There may be features embedded within your existing system that can be enabled. Contact us for assistance.

Will outgoing 9-1-1 calls include accurate location information?
If E911 has not been properly set up, often times the Billing Telephone Number (BTN) is what will be pushed out, sending emergency responders to the site with no knowledge of where the emergency has occurred – or worse – to a different location altogether. If you are unsure about the current setup you can arrange for test calls. Contact your local PSAP for instructions.

For an IP-PBX, will 9-1-1 calls route to the correct Public Safety Answering Point?
If E911 has not been properly configured, an employee calling 9-1-1 from her home office in Dallas could be connected to emergency responders in Los Angeles. It is a good idea to contact experts in assessing this scenario and we can assist you. If you are able to answer some basic questions in regards to your phone system, we can provide an assessment (for free) on whether you need to take further steps.

Is on-site emergency notification in place and properly configured?
If your organization has a security team or a front desk, on-site emergency notification is warranted. It is possible to set up your system so that designated on-site personnel are notified via text message, email, or screen-pop in the event a 9-1-1 call is placed.

If you are not 100% confident you can answer yes to these questions, contact us via phone or email and an E911 expert will quickly provide you with the information you need.

Some of the questions we will ask in helping to determine the current E911 scenario include:

  • What type of PBX do you utilize?
  • Is your PBX stand-alone or networked?
  • What type of PBX Administration/Maintenance Software?
  • Is ANI/Caller ID pushed out to network? (ANI turned on?)
  • Station Lines:
    • Number of DIDs?
    • Number of non-DIDs?
    • Number of TDM phones?
    • Number of VoIP phones?
    • Number of soft phones?
  • Are IP phone users allowed mobility?
  • Do you currently have location information of all phones in an existing database? If yes, in which platform is this information stored?
  • ISDN, DS-1, SIP, or CO trunks?

If E911 service is required for your current scenario, a free assessment and quote is available to you. Contact us today!