E911: Don’t Send Emergency Response Teams to the Wrong Location

over the shoulder of police officer

Public safety is at the forefront of public consciousness these days. And while you’ve probably taken precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace by implementing a work-from-home order, you may have overlooked another danger: inaccurate E911 information

You see, business desk phones and softphones are programmed with automatic number identification (ANI) and automatic location identification (ALI) by IT staff. This information is automatically routed to the nearest public safety answering point, or PSAP, when you dial 911 from one of these devices. What’s important to note here is that this information is programmed manually; it doesn’t just update automatically if you transport your device from one location to another. 

So if you’ve brought your deskphone home, are using a corporate mobile device or are making calls through a softphone application, your E911 location information might not be up-to-date. In the midst of the corporate frenzy to move employees out of the office and into their homes, IT was probably scrambling to make sure everyone had the necessary tools and technology to effectively work from home. This little detail was likely forgotten.

Inaccurate E911 Information is a Vulnerability

But this oversight could become a significant safety hazard in the event of an emergency. If you call 911 from one of these professional devices from home, the PSAP will automatically receive your corporate location information. And if you’re unable to verbally communicate that you’re at a different address, the PSAP will send the emergency response team to your office. 

Imagine for a moment that you’re on a conference call while you’re 12-year-old is helping himself to some Easy Mac in the kitchen. But he forgets to add the water. Your house fills with smoke, fire alarms start going off and the last roll of paper towel catches fire. You hang up the conference call and immediately dial 911. While you’re trying to explain the situation, the fire spreads. You plead for a fire truck, drop the phone and evacuate. 

While you’re on the front lawn anxiously waiting for the fire department to arrive, emergency services have been dispatched to your office across town. 

You don’t want to be in that situation. 

Listen, we’re all concerned about staying safe right now. But that extends to more than just self-quarantines and face masks. There are too many inexperienced cooks trying to figure out their way around the kitchen and too many children at home with too much time on their hands. The ability to get in contact with emergency services is just as important as it’s ever been. Don’t let inaccurate E911 information put you or your staff at risk. 

Protect Yourself and Your Teams 

You can’t wait for an emergency to happen. Being proactive is critical in this situation. If you’re not a part of your organization’s IT staff, be sure to reach out to that team and make sure your device’s information is up-to-date. 

IT professionals and system administrators will likely be able to make changes through a service portal. Our customer portal will allow you to make changes to your E911 location information quickly and easily. Voice service providers like TelNet Worldwide can also make changes to E911 information on your behalf. If you’re one of our customers, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Customer Support Team at (800) 504-1254, Option 2 or email us at accountchanges@telnetww.com

Stay safe. Wash your hands. And don’t forget to update your E911 information. 

Katie Dudlets

Katie Dudlets

Katie Dudlets serves as TelNet’s Marketing Manager and Chief Storyteller. A whiteboard enthusiast and compulsive book collector, she can usually be found expounding on the advantages of corporate storytelling. When not at her desk, you’ll probably find her admiring the artistry of a well-crafted taco, petting a dog or zipping around Lake St. Clair on her jet ski.

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