911 Calls

Started by Alex816, February 17, 2012, 09:40:43 PM

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I think my remark about 911 with location services being the defacto standard is pretty accurate.  If you can find either a landline telephone or cell phone, the average person expects to be able to pick it up and dial 911 and get help.  Going a step further, while they probably wouldn't be able to put this into words (we techies think about stuff like this, but the average person doesn't), they expect 911 to know where they are located without them having to know the physical address where they are located.

Not being able to find a phone is bad, but at least a person understands the situation they find themselves in and can work within those parameters.  For most people, this means finding a phone becomes a high priority, even if it means running to a neighbor, asking a person to use their cell phone, etc, etc, etc.

However, if you have a phone in your house, yet it does not dial 911, or if it does not provide your location automatically, that is going to cause confusion and loss of time because a caller expects one thing but experiences another.

In a best case scenario, you are adding extra stress to an already stressful situation and time will be wasted getting the needed location information to the 911 operator.  Imagine a caller's stress/panic level when the 911 operator asks "Where are you located" and the caller doesn't know the address.  It would be like being punched in the stomach, and then they still have to get the correct location information and convey it to the operator. 

In a worse case scenario, the caller goes through that and then gives the operator the wrong information.  For example, I live on a Court which is near a Street with the same name.  If the caller gave my address as 1 Maple Street instead of 1 Maple Court, help would be severely delayed in getting to the correct address. 

I hope my comments haven't come off as being argumentative or negative in nature.  I enjoy the banter between people and want to make sure it stays informative and respectful. 


Hey Rick,

I signed up for pay pre call plan which is free. But I do not see the ability to pay $1.50 for the e911, i know you dont work for them but if you could point me in the right direction i would appreciate it.


Quote from: Rick on March 11, 2012, 08:56:48 AM
Quote from: bawaji on March 11, 2012, 08:46:27 AM

Quote from: Rick on February 18, 2012, 04:20:58 PM
Port your Verizon number to a prepaid cell, then to GV.  Setup Callcentric for e911 for $1.50 setup fee and $1.50 per month.  Info all over these forums

Can one of you please outline exactly what one needs to sign up for on the Callcentric website to be able to use it for 911 calls? I have Google Voice but am not sure exactly what plan or plans to sign up for at Callcentric, including whether I need to sign up for a phone number. Looks to me like i need to sign up for only outgoing service, and that too only the pay per call rate plan. Is that correct? Any link to a clear step-by-step procedure will help. Thanks!

You must sign up for at least the Pay Per Call plan.  Then you sign up for E911 for the $1.50 setup and $1.50 per month.  You WILL get a Callcentric number.

Once you get a confirmation from Callcentric, put this in the Physical Interfaces > Phone Port > Outbound Call Route:

{([1-9]x?*(Mpli)):pp},{(<#:>):li},{911:sp2},{**0:aa},{***:aa2},{(<**1:>(Msp1)):sp1}, {(<**2:>(Msp2)):sp2},{(<**8:>(Mli)):li},{(<**9:>(Mpp)):pp},{(Mpli):pli}

Click Submit, Reboot the OBi, call the NON-EMERGENCY number for your dispatch center and ask permission to test E911.  When you test it, they should be able to see your name and address, AND the phone number.  I asked what it was, the dispatcher noted it was "out of area" and read it to me, it was a California number, see my post on how the Callcentric process works.


Quote from: sic0048 on March 26, 2012, 08:13:58 AM
I think my remark about 911 with location services being the defacto standard is pretty accurate.  If you can find either a landline telephone or cell phone, the average person expects to be able to pick it up and dial 911 and get help.  Going a step further, while they probably wouldn't be able to put this into words (we techies think about stuff like this, but the average person doesn't), they expect 911 to know where they are located without them having to know the physical address where they are located.

I am old enough to remember when there was no 911 at all.  I also remember that for a long time after 911 was available, the 911 dispatchers had absolutely no idea where you were.  In the "formerly GTE" territory where I live, there were several exchanges that didn't have the enhanced 911 until the mid-90's (when the switches were finally converted from the old step-by-step switches to digital).  For all I know there may still be some small, independent exchanges that don't offer enhanced 911, or only started to very recently.

So the expectation that you have is a relatively new one, but as technology progresses, expectations must necessarily change.  The new reality may be that the most reliable way to summon help in an emergency is by using your personal cell phone, because many newer cell phones have GPS tracking.  Whereas, with all the VoIP technologies, even if a person has a commercial 911 service and sets their correct address, that doesn't mean they will remember to change it the moment they move.  I know someone who has service with a VoIP provider (one of the major ones that starts with a "V") and has moved twice and on both occasions never bothered to change his 911 address.  The only way I know this is because at some point he asked me to help him configure something and when we logged into his account, I noticed the incorrect former address (and yes, I did fix it for him — took all of 30 seconds).

And, I know another guy who doesn't want 911 service at all because, and I kid you not, he's afraid that if he registers with 911 some bill collectors that he's trying to avoid will find him!  I can only shake my head...

So what I am hearing is that you have a particular set of expectations, and I'm just saying that perhaps it's your expectations that need adjusting given the new reality that just because you happen to see a telephone instrument sitting on a countertop in someone's home, that does not actually mean it's connected to anything that will give you useful 911 service.  I would guess there are probably people who have dropped their landline service completely, but still the phone sits where it always has, just because they were never motivated to disconnect it, or maybe they just like the looks of it.

You can have all the expectations you want but at the end of the day, if you pick up someone's else phone in an emergency and dial 911, the new reality is that it just might not do what you expect it to do.  You'd be far better off reaching for your cell phone, particularly if it has GPS capability and your local 911 center can receive that information.  And anyway, if someone is running from house to house looking for a working phone, I'd say that makes them the one that's not preparing for an emergency.  Have you noticed how thin your local phone book is getting (unless the phone company in your area does what the one in my neck of the woods does, which is to continue to carry listings for phones that were disconnected four or five years ago  — I guess that's one way to try to hide the fact that landlines are becoming a thing of the past!)?

Oh, and by the way, there have been several noted cases where people with landlines either died or received delayed help because the company that manages the 911 address database either had an incorrect address or an incorrect city on file. In one case I recall, a Wisconsin man died while waiting for an ambulance that was dispatched to a city on the opposite side of a river from where he was (I want to say it was in the Appleton/Neenah area, but don't quote me on that).  As I recall, he and his family could actually hear the sirens as the ambulance went to the wrong address.  So even if a person has landline service from a phone company, that doesn't necessarily mean that help will be sent in an emergency after 911 is called.
Inactive, no longer posting or responding to messages.  Goodbye and good luck.  Some of my old Obihai-related blog posts have been moved to http://tech.iprock.com - note this in NOT my blog; I have simply given the owner permission to repost some of my old stuff.


I realize that 911 service hasn't always been available, especially in rural areas (I'm old enough to remember too).  But it has been the official national emergency number since 1999 and providers have been steadily implementing and improving service before, during, and after that time.

I think we are in a funny time with 911 and VOIP systems.  VOIP isn't that mainstream yet, but there are a lot of people adopting it.  If anything, I think this is probably the most "dangerous" time in the lifecycle regarding VOIP and 911.  There haven't been enough tragic stories about 911 delays due to VOIP and 911 yet.  So people haven't been educated to the risks of a VOIP system with regards to 911 and they haven't been trained to maintain their system with regards to 911 (like updating their address properly).  As more people move towards VOIP and more time passes, there will be more tragic stories that come out.  Unfortunately it will take a few deaths before people really start to wake up about this.

MichiganTelephone - your story about the incorrect location information being provided for 911 is tragic.  It certainly was more common back in the early days of 911.  It might still be a problem today too in some areas.  I do know that a lot of cities and towns changed street names over the years to help prevent that type of issue. While regular 911 might not be perfect, it is certainly much better than not having location services provided.  Depending on a person to accurately give an address in a moment of high stress is more problematic than relying on the e911 system to provide the location.  Without e911 service, a person using VOIP is much more likely to have delays in receiving help than a person with e911 service.  As your story reminds us, sometimes those delays are the difference between life and death.

Plus, if a person is using an e911 service and actually tested it to make sure it works could rest assured that as long as the e911 data was provided (the service wasn't down for some reason), the 911 operator would receive the correct location data.  

I realize there are some stubborn people out there that are determined to get free telephone service just to brag about it or for some other reason I cannot explain.  It doesn't matter what any of us write on a forum.  I hope they never need 911 or if they do that everything works out even without e911 service being provided.  But for those people that feel the value of having 911 service is more than the $1.50/mo cost, it's nice to know that the Obi can work with e911 providers to give us the safest possible solution for 911 calls.  It might not be perfect, but it is much better than nothing IMHO.