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Posted on June 20, 2016 by West Corporation 


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Understanding the Role of Notifications in Your E911 Solution

If you’ve been tasked with choosing an E911 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 E911 solution can place your organization and your employees in grave danger. For E911, 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 E911 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 E911 solution:

  1. 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. E911 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.
  2. If detailed location data is not shared with the PSAP for each E911 call, emergency responders lose valuable insight into complex evolving incidents. For example, when multiple E911 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.
  3. Notification alerts don’t offer the resiliency that E911 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? E911 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 E911 – it can’t malfunction, it can’t go missing, it just has to work.
  4. Implementing a notification alert on-premises, and sending out the main billing telephone number and address to the PSAP, does not conform to most E911 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 E911 legislation with work-arounds will end up being far more complicated than implementing an E911 management and call routing solution that satisfies all legal requirements.
  5. If your organization elects to implement an incomplete E911 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 E911 solution, you can help your organization limit its exposure to liability in the event of an emergency.

Notification alerts for E911 solution enhancement

Though not a complete E911 solution on their own, notification alerts can be a terrific enhancement to a comprehensive E911 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 911 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 E911 solution

Ultimately, notifications of any sort are a component of a comprehensive E911 management and call routing solution. West’s Emergency Gateway and Emergency Routing Service form the backbone for a complete enterprise E911 solution, ensuring caller location information is detailed and accurate, and that when 911 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 E911 compliance risk
  • Potential for diminished liability

Whether your UC infrastructure is provided by CiscoMicrosoftAvaya, another vendor, or a combination of vendors, our technologies integrate easily and seamlessly with your architecture to provide resilient, reliable, always-on E911 support.



West Corporation

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