How Phones Access 9-1-1

What Kind of Phone Do You Use and Why Does It Matter?

Telephone technology has changed drastically in the last decade and a half. Each kind of telephone reaches 9-1-1 using different pathways and can have a dramatic effect on how quickly the call will be processed.

Make sure you know how your phone connects to 9-1-1!

Traditional Landline Telephones:

In Boyd County, if you have a Windstream telephone you have what is considered a traditional landline phone. These phones provide the most information to a 9-1-1 dispatcher when you call. It is directly routed based on the known location of the telephone (address of residence or business where it is installed).

The dispatcher will receive the ANI/ ALI screen (Automatic Number and  Location Identification) that will include the telephone number,  name the phone is registered in, and the exact address the of the telephone.

Why is that important? If you call 9-1-1 and cannot speak for whatever reason then the dispatcher can still send help to investigate the call.

Armstrong Cable telephones deliver the same type of information when dialing 9-1-1 as their information is contained in the same database as Windstream.

Time Warner Cable telephone service is a little different as they utilize a different database and delivery system however, their data is generally the same.

Cellular/Wireless Telephones:

A cellular phone uses GPS locations and tower site delivery. Boyd County 9-1-1 is a certified Phase 2 PSAP meaning the center has the equipment capable of receiving the GPS coordinates from cellular calls and can plot the location on a digital map.

Caution however, the GPS coordinates are not always accurate nor are they instantaneous like locations from the landline phones. Be aware that when calling from a cellular phone your location may not be accurate to where you are. A dispatcher may not be able to locate you based on the ANI/ALI data only. Location data is often affected when calling from inside a vehicle or building.

VoIP Telephones:

Internet service telephones such as Vonage, Majic Jack, Ooma and the like allow for the user to access their phone service anywhere they have internet access. On the surface, this seems like a great idea and quite portable.

Be aware that the telephone service owners, you, are responsible for updating your location anytime you move the phone. Otherwise, when you dial 9-1-1 from the VoIP phone you will get the 9-1-1 PSAP where your phone was last registered. So, for instance, if you registered your address in Ashland, KY but you are currently using the phone at a hotel or new residence in Lexington, when you dial 9-1-1 you will get the Boyd County 9-1-1 center not Lexington.

Some VoIP providers are not directly connected with the Public Telephone Switching Network which delivers calls into the 9-1-1 systems. Instead they have their own emergency call taking centers that will answer your initial call then transfer you to the proper 9-1-1 center. Again, this will depend on the address data used when registering the phone, so not only will the call be delayed because it does not go directly to 9-1-1, but it may also be transferred to the wrong PSAP based on incorrect address information.

Saves time… Saves lives!