Have you addressed E911 with your customer base?

Within the past few weeks, two deaths have occurred in the United States that might have been prevented if the involved organizations – a hotel in Texas and a retail store in Utah – had taken measures to ensure the accuracy of outgoing 9-1-1 calls. The first of these tragedies prompted an open letter to the FCC pleading for action at the Federal level to be taken in 2014. Written by Mark Fletcher, Chief Architect of Public Safety Solutions at Avaya, the letter stressed that “affordable and easily implementable solutions exist in most environments today, and it is merely the lack of public education and awareness that remains as a barrier between MLTS/PBX users and this element of public safety” (precise 9-1-1 location information). In response, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai announced January 13th that the tragedy “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.” Trey Fogerty, NENA Government Affairs Director, states: “I am hopeful that we may finally see regulatory or legislative action to eliminate the barriers that place lives and property at risk every day in hotels and businesses around the country. There simply is no reason that consumers should continue to face these risks when the technology to mitigate them is already commonplace.”

Now is the time to reach out to your clients, as several owners of multi-line telephone systems remain largely unaware of the need to be proactive about E911.  Sometimes only a few simple steps are required to ensure a 9-1-1 call is routed to the correct Public Safety Answering Point along with accurate location information.

As a first step in reaching out to your customers, consider offering an E911 check-up. You can instruct your client to make some simple assessments:

  • Can a 9-1-1 call be made from any telephone device without requiring that an access code be dialed first?
  • Will outgoing 9-1-1 calls include accurate location information? (Often times it is the BTN that is pushed out, sending responders to the site with no knowledge of where the emergency is at. Sometimes the BTN may be a different location altogether.)
  • 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 office in Dallas could be connected to a PSAP in Los Angeles.)
  • Is on-site emergency notification in place and properly configured for organizations whose needs warrant it? 

If your customer answers ‘no’ to any of these questions, it may just require enabling free features already embedded in the switch.  From there, you can assist your customer in determining if additional enhancements are required to ensure that all emergency calls are routed correctly and include precise enough location information.  

As a member of Avaya’s Select Product Program, 911 Emergency Telecom partners with Carousel to help you provide your clients with accurate E911 service. You can reach us at sales@911etc.com, 480-719-8558 or visit http://www.carouselindustries.com/partners/911-etc for more information.