VoIP creates problems for Californian emergency services

For all the benefits of VoIP, such as increased efficiency and cost savings for businesses, the phone system technology has its downsides too.
Emergency services in California have complained about being called out to large office blocks and campuses without knowing exactly where the incident is taking place.

Karina Yandell, the corporate development manager of 911 ETC Inc, said: “If an employee dials 911 but the caller address is just a billing address, emergency services can arrive at a multi-story building and have no clue where exactly the emergency is.”
She added: “VoIP has brought the issue to the forefront because of the problem it presents for 911 calls. Up until now the public has been largely unaware of this glitch.”

Ms Yandell was speaking in the hope that the state of California addresses issue with organizations which employ multiple-line telephone systems.
E-911 is an American system that matches phone numbers with physical addresses. It is mainly used by emergency services responders.
Currently only a tiny fraction of California’s 1.3 million businesses, non-profit organisations and government entities have provided telephone extension location information to the voluntary E-911 database.

The lack of these records creates a gap in the Californian emergency call system. California is now one of a number of states proposing regulations which would shore up the gaps in these records.

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