The Most Important Piece of Information in an Emergency

Posted by Adam Born on Dec 8, 2020 10:00:00 AM

One of our Lead Solutions Architects at ConvergeOne (and a long-time member of the Ski Patrol), Leif Haslund, has told me that the most important piece of information to ask in an emergency is, “Where are you?” When an emergency happens and his team gets called, they must know where to go in order to give assistance.

The same is true for every type of emergency. Public safety personnel need to be directed to the location of an incident to provide emergency services. This is the central idea behind the concept of “dispatchable location.” Dispatchable location information, according to the FCC, “includes the street address of the caller and additional information, such as room or floor number, necessary to adequately locate the caller.”

RAY BAUM’s Act, or specifically, Section 506 of the Act, introduces regulations for multi-line telephone systems (MLTS). These regulations are being implemented in two phases over the course of 2021 and 2022. Each relates directly to the “dispatchable location” of a caller in an emergency and applies to the two types of devices on an MLTS: 1) fixed/physical phones, and 2) non-fixed (soft or hard phones) and off-premise phones.

For each phase, the MLTS must provide a “dispatchable location” to the public safety answering point (PSAP) for all 911 phone calls. That information is displayed in the PSAP’s systems to direct the responders to the place where the calling party is making the 911 call. What information is presented, however, is the result of determining “dispatchable location.”

Each organization will need to evaluate the regulations for themselves and seek legal counsel on how best to classify the dispatchable locations inside their offices or buildings. For some, it may be by floor, and for others, it may be by individual room. The layout of your locations and the size of your environment will be a part of the decision.

After determining the scope of your “dispatchable locations,” your organization can then plan for and deploy a solution to provide the correct information to the PSAP. That is where ConvergeOne can help. With your definition in hand, along with location layout information, we can create a solution that integrates with your existing environment. The solution may even be configured to include meeting the 2021 AND 2022 requirements, especially if you have already moved your workforce to a remote, work-from-home scenario.

As workers spend more time in a hybrid or 100% work-from-home situation, the need to provide locations for non-fixed devices becomes even more important. A soft phone, a remote handset, or an endpoint in an employee’s house is another phone on your organization’s MLTS that needs to have its location identified. A “Do Not Place Emergency Calls” sticker placed on the phone is no longer an option.

Building a configuration that meets the requirements for RAY BAUM’s Act can also cover another regulation for e911 and emergency calling, Kari’s Law. This law requires that MLTS must be able to dial 9-1-1 without dialing any other digits before or after to get an outside line, and all 911 calls must provide notification to a central location at the facility, such at the front desk, security, etc. The notification itself needs to include several pieces of information, such as a callback number or location information.

Location information is critical in the event of an emergency. Knowing where to go is the key to providing timely response and support to everyone involved. As your organization moves to comply with the new regulations in place, let ConvergeOne work with you to make the deployment as easy as possible.

View our flyer for further guidance on E911 laws.


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Topics: Unified Communications, Remote Working, E911