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Difference(s) between Basic 911 and Enhanced 911

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Most people do not realize what goes behind when connecting a call, let alone what is happening when connecting a 911 call.

What happens when 9-1-1 is dialed?

With Enhanced 911 (or E911) service, when someone dials 911, the telephone number and the address associated with are simultaneously sent to the local emergency center. The local emergency center is assigned based on the caller’s location. Emergency operators would often seek to confirm the address and location, but nonetheless, they do have access to the information originally provided in the call. They will use that data to send help and call you back if necessary.

What is basic 911?

On the other hand with basic 911, the local emergency operator answering the call will not have the caller’s telephone number or address, thus callers must be prepared to give them this information. Until the caller succeeds in giving the operator the phone number, they will not be able to call you back or dispatch help if the call is not completed or is not forwarded, is dropped or disconnected, or if you are unable to speak.

911 Calls and VoIP

Further consideration shall be given since the traditional phone services, a 911 call is sent directly to the nearest emergency response center. With VoIP phone service, your 911 call is forwarded to a third-party service provider which will automatically or manually route the call to the emergency response center. With VoIP, extra precautions have to be taken.

Consider that is possible to have more than one phone number associated with one address, live in Montreal, and have a phone number from Halifax or move your VoIP adapter with you.  If the 911 registration was not properly done or keep updated in the user’s account, the emergency operator may not have the actual real location or valid contact information available. The caller has to immediately inform the emergency operator of the exact location where the distress situation has presented and a piece of reliable contact information.

In any case, as a rule of thumb, any time a call to 911 is made is better to confirm the address. Regardless of the type of service, you subscribe to. Otherwise, there’s a risk of sending police, firefighters, or ambulance services to the wrong location.

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