If you’ve been tasked with choosing an E9-1-1 solution for your enterprise, it can be tempting to set up an on-site notification alert and have emergency responders receive the location details they need once they arrive on-site. While this strategy seems to be able to keep your organization safe, make no mistake: implementing notification alerts on their own as an E9-1-1 solution can place your organization and your employees in grave danger. For E9-1-1, relaying an accurate, dispatchable address to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) is essential; this ensures that first responders arrive with the information they need to quickly locate and help the caller.
Notification alerts: not a complete solution
There are several reasons why you should think twice if you are considering implementing a notification alert in place of a robust, enterprise-grade E9-1-1 solution:
- If first responders do not have the caller’s precise location information from the start, they will have no idea where to go when they arrive on scene. Searching for a notification station, or locating a security guard workstation, wastes valuable time. E9-1-1 call routing solutions that instantly deliver pinpoint caller location information to the PSAP ensure that emergency responders can go directly to the emergency, saving time and lives.
- If detailed location data is not shared with the PSAP for each E9-1-1 call, emergency responders lose valuable insight into complex evolving incidents. For example, when multiple E9-1-1 calls arrive from different areas of the premises at different times, knowing where and when each call was placed allows emergency responders to track the situation and determine the best response strategy. By sharing location data with the PSAP, an emergency response strategy can be put into play immediately, to ensure optimal outcomes.
- Notification alerts don’t offer the resiliency that E9-1-1 requires. What if the hardware used to display the alert fails or goes missing? What if the security personnel designated to assist the first responders are away from their desks, or aren’t on-premises 24/7/365? E9-1-1 call routing solutions are designed for optimal resiliency, with standard solution redundancy and automatic failovers that notifications simply do not provide. This extreme level of dependability is essential for E9-1-1 – it can’t malfunction, it can’t go missing, it just has to work.
- Implementing a notification alert on-premises, and sending out the main billing telephone number and address to the PSAP, does not conform to most E9-1-1 regulations imposed on multi-line telephone systems (MLTS). Even legislation that allows for alerting to replace the delivery of precise location details to the PSAP has stringent requirements for on-site security teams. The reality is, meeting E9-1-1 legislation with work-arounds will end up being far more complicated than implementing an E9-1-1 management and call routing solution that satisfies all legal requirements.
- If your organization elects to implement an incomplete E9-1-1 solution, you may face increased liability. The minor cost savings you may have achieved can be several orders of magnitude less than the cost of an improperly handled emergency. By implementing a complete E9-1-1 solution, you can help your organization limit its exposure to liability in the event of an emergency.
Notification alerts for solution enhancement
Though not a complete E9-1-1 solution on their own, notification alerts can be a terrific enhancement to a comprehensive E9-1-1 management and call routing solution. They ensure that security personnel are not taken by surprise when first responders show up at the gates. They also allow on-site staff to react to emergencies before first responders have even been dispatched, so distressed parties receive assistance as quickly as possible.
Beyond alerts, enhanced notification features like three-way call monitoring can improve your emergency response by enabling on-site security to act in concert with public safety responders. When security personnel can listen in on and even participate in a 9-1-1 call, they gain the benefit of situational awareness. This empowers them to immediately coordinate an emergency response that is appropriate to the nature of the emergency, whether it is a fire, a medical crisis, or another type of emergency entirely.
Keep your organization safe with an effective E9-1-1 solution
Ultimately, notifications of any sort are a component of a comprehensive E9-1-1 management and call routing solution. West’s Safety Services Emergency Gateway and Emergency Routing Service form the backbone for a complete enterprise E9-1-1 solution, ensuring caller location information is detailed and accurate, and that when 9-1-1 is dialed, the call and data are delivered to the right PSAP. They also simultaneously allow the enterprise to integrate their on-site security team in the emergency response process with a complete suite of notification features. The end result is:
- Faster emergency response times
- More effective emergency response strategies
- Reduced room for error
- Minimized E9-1-1 compliance risk
- Potential for diminished liability
Whether your UC infrastructure is provided by Cisco, Microsoft, Avaya, another vendor, or a combination of vendors, our technologies integrate easily and seamlessly with your architecture to provide resilient, reliable, always-on E9-1-1 support.