Category: Safety Services

Category: Safety Services
West Corporation

Posted on April 15, 2013 by West Corporation 

Telecommunicators – the Heart and Soul of 9-1-1

Happy National Telecommunicators Week to all! My hat is off to each and every one of our Country’s emergency call takers. Thank You! Thank you for what you do!!

FIRST of the first responders. Unsung hero. Unseen voice. Calm in the chaos. All terms to describe our many professional public safety telecommunicators across America who staff over 6,000 of our 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) across the United States.

Individuals who sit under the headset of our call centers ready to act when that phone rings from the citizen who may only reach out to us once in their lifetime; when an officer safety issue presents itself; when the hurricane or tornado wipes out parts of, or an entire community; or when that senior citizen calls for assistance for a “non-emergency”, or just needs to know what day of the week it is. YOU are the calm and comforting voice; they may never see or get to meet.

Each of you comes from a different walk of life, background, education and community involvement; big families to small families; and all with your own challenges. When you walk into that PSAP and approach the console and place that headset on; you leave all those “outside” challenges “at the door” and stand ready to be the calm and comfort for the citizen, the guiding voice for the police officer, firefighter or paramedic in critical times.

I look back on my tenure as a 9-1-1 Director and recall the team of dedicated professionals that I had the privilege to call co-workers and friends –  they were a “family”. They were newlyweds, moms and dads, brothers or sisters, even grandparents from all walks of life. Several were volunteer firefighters in their own community; a few were EMT/Paramedics as well. Two were officials or referees for organized youth sports programs within their community.

The common theme that emerges in our profession is a common bond with our community – communities that we serve, communities we support, and those that we participate in because you care!

You care because you work swing shifts, night shifts, holidays and forego many family activities to be there with your colleagues 24/7/365. Your family expands to include your co-workers, partners and fellow public safety professions within your agency and across this great profession. You attend training and provide education to your communities about 9-1-1 and what we do.

Many of you go beyond your agency and provide precious and valuable volunteer time to our industry’s professional associations:  NENA, APCO, NASNA and others. When I have asked why, the answer most resoundingly is “to pay back a great profession and industry”.

I can say without hesitation that the Intrado family appreciates what all of you do, day in and day out to provide such a vital service to your community. In many cases, I realize that you don’t very often get the true recognition so richly deserved.

Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts about a group of true professionals. And a personal thank you to each of you for what you do, and to your families for sharing YOU with your community and the 9-1-1 profession.

Be safe!  Keep others safe!  And be well. Thank you!

West Corporation

Posted on April 2, 2013 by West Corporation 

911 Enable Announces Spring Webinar Series: E911 Feature Spotlight

Get the lowdown on the critical E911 features that can help your organization meet its E911 obligations and keep users safe

Spring Webinar Series911 Enable is pleased to announce its 2013 Spring Webinar Series will take place May 1 to 15, 2013.

The theme of this new series is E911 Feature Spotlight, focusing on Automatic IP Phone Tracking, On-Site Security Notification, and E911 Call Routing features.

Attendees will learn:

  • The E911 challenges these features help address
  • How these features work in different voice environments, including Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft Lync, and ShoreTel deployments
  • Who they’re for, and how they can be implemented in any organization

To learn more and register, visit

West Corporation

Posted on March 26, 2013 by West Corporation 

New White Paper: Improving Emergency Outcomes with Three-Way Call Monitoring

When someone calls 911 from your organization, do you know where they are — and just as critically, do you know why they need emergency assistance?

Three Way Call Monitoring911 Enable is pleased to announce the release of its newest white paper, Improving Emergency Outcomes with Three-way Call Monitoring.

Many E911 solutions today can notify internal security that a 911 call is in progress, providing the caller’s extension, location, and name, which can be useful information for security personnel to have. However, without knowing what the emergency is, security personnel do not know how to respond appropriately. This white paper outlines how Three-way Call Monitoring addresses this problem, bridging the information gap between knowing that someone in your organization has called 911 and where they are located, and knowing why they need help.

Don’t miss out, download the white paper now!

West Corporation

Posted on March 5, 2013 by West Corporation 

The Top 3 Reasons Why You NEED to visit 911 Enable at Enterprise Connect

Enterprise ConnectEnterprise Connect is the year’s biggest enterprise UC event, with sessions covering every aspect of UC, numerous receptions and networking events, and an exhibit hall packed with over 140 different solution vendors. Even with all that going on, you can’t afford to miss 911 Enable in the Exhibit Hall. Here are the top three reasons why you should make a point to visit booth 1513:

  1. You may be violating your state’s laws, and not know it.
    17 states have already implemented E911 regulations, and more are in the works. Add on to that OSHA requirements for a safe, hazard-free workplace, and E911 isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. In addition to tough, legislated penalties, failing to provide E911 service to your employees opens you up to increased liability risk in the event of a tragedy. Why take the risk? 911 Enable has cost-effective solutions that can get you in compliance with any legislation you’re required to meet, and can help you establish E911 best practices for your deployment.
  2. Implementing E911 isn’t a complex as you might think it is.
    911 Enable’s experienced team makes setting up E911 easy, and our solutions make ongoing management a breeze. Features like automatic IP phone tracking keep phone location information up-to-date for 911 purposes, eliminating the need to manually administer moves, adds, and changes. Record provisioning and updates are automatically processed in real-time, so administrators don’t have to upload records themselves, and then wait for them to be processed in 48 hours. When E911 can be this simple, there’s no reason not to have it.
  3. More solutions for more platforms, period.
    Though competing E911 solutions are available, no one offers solutions for more of today’s leading platforms than 911 Enable. We’re constantly developing and enhancing our solutions, which regularly undergo interoperability and certification testing with leading UC platforms from Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, ShoreTel, Aastra, Alcatel-Lucent, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence, and more. This means that no matter what your deployment is today or in the future, we can provide you with robust, seamless E911 support that is proven to work.

See for yourself why 911 Enable leads the pack when it comes to E911 solutions for UC. Stop by booth 1513 to ask questions, find out what makes us different, and see our solutions in action.

To learn more before you go, check out our solution briefs for Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, ShoreTel, Aastra, Alcatel-Lucent, and Genesys.

West Corporation

Posted on March 1, 2013 by West Corporation 

Making a Difference

My whole life has been spent solving problems. If I perceive that a problem exists, I feel the need to solve it. It doesn’t always matter what it is – problems just need to go away. I know I’m not the only one out there either. There are lots of you just like me that I’ve met along the way. You are the ones that clean out the coffee pot at work so the coffee doesn’t taste bad. You are the ones that refill the paper in the copy machine when you see the light blinking. You are the ones that stay at work an extra 15 or 20 minutes on a ridiculously busy shift just to make sure you thoroughly briefed your relief.

When I became a dispatcher, I quickly learned that I couldn’t solve all the problems I faced. There were always more calls that needed to be dispatched than I had officers to handle them. Dispatchers all know that the calls holding actually translate to people who need assistance. But even when the call is dispatched, it doesn’t mean the problem was solved. That bothered me for a long time. Dispatching felt like painting a fence in the rain; the paint never actually dries. What was I actually accomplishing?

Then I realized something that changed how I thought about the work I did and shaped the work that I do now. First, I did realize that the problems were not specifically MINE to solve. But I felt that my job was to send someone who COULD solve the problem. Sometimes it actually worked out that way. I will always remember the call I broadcast on the radio “in the blind” (because there were no available officers) of a child not breathing. Luckily an officer on a call not far away, spoke up and said “I’ll take it”. He got to the scene and got the button dislodged from the child’s throat. On the officer’s next radio transmission I could hear the little guy crying in the background. Problem solved with a happy ending.

I hadn’t personally solved that problem, but my actions had made a difference. So when I thought about that call and others, I figured out what my purpose really was – to make a difference. Over the past years (okay, decades), I’ve worked in just about all parts of the 9-1-1 business both on the public and private sides. But one thing has always stayed with me and kept me going at the end of an awful day – the thought that my actions made a difference!

In my life on the commercial side, I was able to be a part of a team which helped a Sheriff to achieve the goal he had set of bringing 9-1-1 service to his community. When the project was complete, the community had gone from 7 digit phone numbers for each individual agency to 9-1-1 for all public safety. An entire team of people had worked diligently for years to make this happen and I was only one small piece of the effort. My one small piece made a difference. I’ll never forget the smile on his face when the first call was answered. I remember thinking to myself, “I have the coolest job in the world”.

So to all of you in this business, regardless whether you are on the public or commercial side of 9-1-1, the next time you have a particularly trying day, please remember:  YOU do make a difference!

And if no one has said it to you recently, thank you for making a difference.

West Corporation

Posted on February 22, 2013 by West Corporation 

Cloud Computing for 9-1-1

The term “cloud computing” seems to be encroaching on every aspect of the technical scene these days,   but do you really understand what that means and    how it applies to 9-1-1? 

In the past, to have a real-time software experience, we had to load software onto a personal computer at the desk. Your experience depended upon how fast your processor was, how fast your drive was, and how much memory your computer stored. We all envied the person with the latest X86 processor because their experience was better than ours on the same software.

We evolved past this stage to server-based software. The software could reside in a back room on a bigger, faster server and deliver us a real-time user experience via the CAT-5 cable running to our desk from the back room. We all became dependent upon IT gurus that kept that server alive and functioning back in that closet. Remember that love/hate relationship from the ‘90s?

With the advances in network speeds and reliability nationwide, and actually worldwide with the major carriers, we have entered the age of “cloud computing”. Now we can have a real-time experience just like we had with the server in the back room, except the back room can be thousands of miles away!

There are several advantages to having your 9-1-1 solution in cloud-based architecture. First is geographic diversity. If your PSAP is affected by an event (flood, fire, tornado, gas leak, electrical failure, etc.), your equipment is safe and functioning. If you are in a cloud-based solution shared with other agencies, your staff can log in at those agencies and keep receiving calls. You also don’t have to worry about security, air conditioning, electrical, software upgrades, security upgrades, or not having a trained technician to work on your call handling equipment.

Cloud computing solutions for 9-1-1 have really been tested recently. We never thought we would see another Hurricane Katrina type situation, but Tropical Storm Irene was just that for Vermont. We saw twelve communities cut off by flood waters, one PSAP underwater and a host of other state facilities compromised. All of Vermont’s capabilities are cloud based. Throughout the storm, the network stayed up and they did not lose a single 9-1-1 call. Their 9-1-1 network was the only statewide network that stayed up during Irene.

Super Storm Sandy hit next generation sites in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Despite the massive 9-1-1 problems reported on the East Coast, these next generation systems were still able to handle the incoming calls. In fact, to illustrate the power of cloud computing, the Government Services Administration (GSA) had moved its employees in New York and New Jersey to a cloud-based solution; despite the massive power outages and loss of a major part of the telecommunications network in New York City, their 4,000 employees stayed online throughout the storm and even helped in the relief efforts.

West Corporation

Posted on February 18, 2013 by West Corporation 

911 Enable Participating at Inaugural Lync Conference

Lync Conference 2013The inaugural Lync Conference kicks off tomorrow, and 911 Enable is pleased to announce it will be participating as a Silver Sponsor. Lync Conference brings together the best and brightest Lync professionals – from Microsoft Partners and MVPs to Lync Developers, Consultants, Support Engineers and customers – to learn, share and interact.

This year’s sold-out conference takes place February 19-21 at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, CA. If you’re planning to attend, make sure to visit us in Booth K3 to learn more about our unique solutions for Lync. To learn more, read the press release.

West Corporation

Posted on February 5, 2013 by West Corporation 

First Trade Show in 2013: IT Expo East

IT ExpoIT Expo in Miami Beach marks the beginning of the trade show season for us at 911 Enable, and is always a highlight on the calendar. This year’s show proved to be no exception, with service providers from across North America congregating at the Miami Beach Convention Center to learn about the latest innovations in the world of VoIP, and find solutions for the issues facing their networks.

911 Enable at IT ExpoAs the only E911 provider at the show, we noticed that emergency calling was a hot topic for many of the attendees; whether they were establishing VoIP services for the first time or looking to improve upon their existing E911 solution, we answered a steady stream of questions from “What exactly IS E911?” to “How can I solve my specific E911 problem…” Hopefully, those who came by our booth left with a better understanding of how to address the unique E911 challenges they face, and learned that E911 solutions can be easy and cost-effective to deploy and maintain.

One of the highlights of the show for us was receiving the IT Expo Best of Show Award for Best Service Provider Solution. This honor was given to our E911 management solution for UC as a Service (UCaaS) providers, the Emergency Gateway (EGW). The EGW simplifies E911 provisioning and management and speeds time to deployment, allowing UCaaS providers to ensure accurate E911 functionality can be easily implemented and maintained. To learn more about our award-winning solution for UCaaS, visit

If you couldn’t make it to IT Expo, you can always contact us via phone (877-862-2835) or email with your questions about E911 for your hosted multi-tenant VoIP, UCaaS, SIP trunking, or residential VoIP phone service – we’d be happy to help!

West Corporation

Posted on January 30, 2013 by West Corporation 

911 Enable Advances to Preferred Solution Developer Partner Status within the Cisco Developer Network

Preferred_Solution_Developer (2)911 Enable is pleased to announce it has been promoted to the Preferred Solution Developer Partner level within the Cisco Developer Network (CDN). This invitation-only level of membership is the highest tier within the program, and is limited to developers who have worked closely with Cisco to deliver enhanced solutions that deliver greater interoperability with Cisco networking solutions. 911 Enable is proud to work with Cisco at this elite level, with a demonstrated commitment to collaborating with Cisco and a proven track record of gaining market traction and addressing customers’ business needs. Our solutions regularly undergo Interoperability Verification Testing with the latest innovations from Cisco, ensuring they can be easily integrated with any Cisco deployment.

To learn more about 911 Enable and Cisco:

West Corporation

Posted on January 11, 2013 by West Corporation 

Milestones, or just pebbles along the way…

Having been part of the 9-1-1 industry since 1985 (you do the math) there have been a lot of huge developments that have impacted the industry. Lots of people nowadays move from one career to another, following a web-like career path across multiple industries, geographies, and professional levels. My own path has stayed close to the major branch that is public safety/emergency communications, even though I’ve branched out toward quality standards, compliance and business controls along the way.

When I got my first 9-1-1 position, the first day on the job I received a huge stack of green-bar computer printouts of all the MSAGs for the entire county. It was about 5 inches thick with maybe 60 street and address ranges listed on each page. My first task was to verify the data was correct, which involved checking in with 42 community Fire departments, then discovering 50,000 unaddressed structures in the county, and launching an addressing program that was not met with much enthusiasm by the farmers and ranchers surrounding the metropolitan area.  I attended lots of pot-luck suppers as I tried to explain how 9-1-1 would work to the rural residents of Tarrant County, TX!

We didn’t have laptops back then, and did everything on paper. So when I titled this article, I was really thinking about the huge technical challenges that we faced and overcame – Milestones – that now just look like bumps in the road in retrospect. The most technical acronyms I threw around back in 1985 were POTS, MSAG, ALI and ESN. My oldest son once asked me when his cousin, NENA, would come to visit him. Now there is an entire library of terms that are tossed about everyday!  We have come so far with 9-1-1 technology in a relatively short time!

Here’s my list of milestones that now resemble mere pebbles along the roadway.

Rural Address conversion – that was a big one in the 1980’s!  It’s not unusual to see five and six number addresses along the back roads nowadays, and lots more street signs!  We 9-1-1ers have definitely impacted the landscape. Along the way, we might have even impacted the tax roles as every structure with an address was included in the updated “9-1-1” database, which doubled as a mailing address for tax bills to be sent to.

PBX or private switch systems – there were campuses with private phone systems that operated with extensions and no address information at all. We had to figure out how to identify the location of each extension, which was tied to the phone system with a hard wire on a desk or in a dorm room at the time. We created an addressing scheme for Dallas International Airport where none had existed before.

Cell phones – my first one was a 5 pound brick, but my first exposure to a mobile was a built-in car console – it was really a radio and was connected to the car’s battery power and had a huge antenna attached to the car trunk. It had a curly cord and a rotary dial on the handset!  Of course, I was just a child when I experienced this sight, but it made me so hopeful for the future and all the amazing things we would have available in my lifetime. Now we have all that futuristic equipment, except for flying cars, and with the technology came a whole new type of 9-1-1 system. We had to locate those unconnected devices and display them on maps so we could send the right responders to them!  Huge change came along with this technology advance. Our ground-breaking project in 1996 in Houston, TX, was a live demonstration of wireless location and number display – we lovingly referred to it as pseudo-ALI, or PALI, and a whole bunch of new acronyms came out of it. In the rear-view mirror, that is so far behind us and left so many body parts on the side of the road, it’s amazing that we stuck with it!

Web based information – the phone companies used to publish directories of all the phone numbers in alphabetical order. These were giant tissue paper books that we received free of charge each year, which doubled as child seat lifts at the dinner table. Most families only had one number you could call, rather than one per person plus the home phone and multiple computers for each member of the household. Now, you can go on-line and look up just about anyone, anywhere and use your cell phone’s internet access to do it. We can also hook up our computers to make phone calls using Voice over Internet, or VoIP. This was another 9-1-1 hurdle – connecting computers to 9-1-1 wherever they might be located at the moment.

Texting – Who can live without it anymore?  It keeps us all connected, and people want to be able to text 9-1-1, as well they should. This is a boon for the deaf community, and a true lifesaver for anyone in a compromised position that needs to reach 9-1-1. 9-1-1 is in our pockets nowadays. The products and services of the industry had to come up with a way to meet every telecommunications advance that comes through the door – I guess there will always be a reason to do what we do!

West Corporation