Voice over internet protocol (VOIP) has ushered in a new era of convenience, enabling entire companies and organizations to consolidate their infrastructure to a single data center, cut costs on telephony circuits, and streamline communications. The challenge of disparate branch offices without compromising their ability to access 911 emergency response is met by the advent of enhanced 911 (E911), ensuring employees at multiple locations a timely response from first responders.
Passed by Congress in 1999, the Wireless Communication and Public Safety Act (911 Act) mandated the use of enhanced 911, and designated 911 as the universal emergency number for the United States. With this came the idea of stored locations contained in the Automatic Location Information (ALI) database. Because of this mandate, Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) can now cross reference information with the outbound number, allowing personnel at the PSAP to dispatch the appropriate responders at a specified location.
In a standard consolidated dial plan, all outbound calls depart on circuits located at a central location. With no control over the data being sent, a user calling from a branch office would contact a responder routed to the address of record for the primary circuit. In an emergency situation, the only preventative action would require the user to call 911 to confirm their location, taking more time, thus endangering lives.
By masking (changing) the number presented to the PSAP and controlling the number’s location information, ABS can overcome these challenges, allowing a granular level of control. First Responders will now be dispatched with pin point accuracy to any number of phones at any location per the information stored in the Emergency Response Location (ERL). In addition, we can alert key personnel (like a security desk or front desk receptionist) so the company is aware of the emergency and to allow them to direct responders to the location of the emergency on arrival.
Regardless of which dial plan your organization has in place, there are now solutions to support to ensure appropriate emergency response to all locations.
Chris Pohlad-Thomas is one of ABS’ go-to Collaboration experts and architects. Chris works with some of ABS’ largest clients to ensure collaborative technologies are correctly designed and installed to support business objectives.