Can the 911 operator figure out where I'm located?

Having trouble placing or receiving calls or using your voicemail system on Ooma Telo VoIP Phones? Post your questions here.
Post Reply
Zindar
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:16 pm

Can the 911 operator figure out where I'm located?

Post by Zindar » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:39 pm

Hello,
Today I just called to cancel my AT&T landline, and they warned me that if I use VOIP instead of a copper landline, the 911 operator might not be able to figure out where I'm located, and I could have very delayed response to emergencies.

In fact, I did call 911 a few weeks ago using my ooma, because my house was taking on water from a breached storm gulley, and I was hoping for the fire department to be able to divert the flowing water, and the operater asked me for my address, which I gave her, and the fire deparment did show up fairly quickly. It wasn't until today that it occurred to me that were I having breathing troubles or some similar health emergency, and couldn't speak but could dial, that I now wonder if 911 could find me. (I don't actually know that 911 didn't already have it, but if they did, I wonder why they asked me to give them my address.)

AT&T says they hope to regain me as a customer based on this reasoning. But I'm wondering if maybe is there some database somewhere that I need to update that might somehow enable the 911 folks to associate my ooma number with a physical address? Or is there any system in place at all for 911 to automatically access my location, or am I just out of luck in this area unless I go back to AT&T? (I would really not like to go back to AT&T.)

murphy
Posts: 7240
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:49 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Can the 911 operator figure out where I'm located?

Post by murphy » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:50 pm

In the account section of your my.ooma account you specified your service address.
That address is transmitted to the E911 operator.
They probably asked for your address to validate the call.

Call their non-emergency number and ask permission to make a test call to validate your VOIP system.
When you make the test call, have them read back to you the data they were presented with.
Customer since January 2009
Telo with 2 Handsets, a Linx, and a Safety Phone
Telo2 with 2 Handsets and a Linx

Zindar
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: Can the 911 operator figure out where I'm located?

Post by Zindar » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:00 pm

murphy wrote:In the account section of your my.ooma account you specified your service address.
That address is transmitted to the E911 operator.
They probably asked for your address to validate the call.

Call their non-emergency number and ask permission to make a test call to validate your VOIP system.
When you make the test call, have them read back to you the data they were presented with.
Yes, I just checked and my service address is indeed already out there in my.ooma. I didn't know I could call the nonemergency number to ask this, I'll have to try that out. We have 311 as a sort of nonemergency number (i.e. help needed, but not urgently), so I guess I could call that number to try that out. So they won't be bugged by this sort of use of 311?

So, assuming this is setup correctly, I assume that if I was physically unable to speak, they'd still be able to send police or an ambulance based on that address. Maybe AT&T is unnecessarily exaggerating things. I think she said something about how people move addresses, but don't necessarily keep the database updated, so I guess she has a point there. It sounds like as long as I keep my.ooma updated whenever I change addresses, I should be fine without an AT&T phone account.

Well, I guess an extreme situation would be if we had a power failue or internet outage, simultaneous to a health emergency such that I couldn't speak, and had to use my cell phone as a backup, for all these things to happen simultaneously seems fairly remote.

User avatar
lbmofo
Posts: 9337
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:37 pm
Location: Greater Seattle
Contact:

Re: Can the 911 operator figure out where I'm located?

Post by lbmofo » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:49 pm

FYI, https://www.ooma.com/911

For 311 equivalent numbers, look here: http://www.911dispatch.com/info/311map.html
Customer Since: 3/13/10
Hardware: Telo & Hub
Service: Premier 12/06/10
Verizon Port: 3/15/10 - 4/02/10
Internet: 100 Mbps/10 Mbps
Setup: SB6141/R6700/Ooma
MainStreetSHARES Ebates: get Ca$h Back when you shop online!!

Image

Post Reply