VoIP 911 Policy

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) users on campus should be aware that emergency calls placed to 911 will report location based on Emergency Response Location (ERL) information. Maintaining accurate location information is vital to ensure first responders can quickly find the correct location of a call during an emergency.

For the purposes of this policy, a wired phone (e.g. desk phone) is a VoIP device wired to a network port and consistently remains in one location.  A VoIP softphone application to place and receive phone calls over a wireless internet (Wi-Fi) connection will only provide information that is on file for the user, and therefore is not a recommended method for contacting 911.

It is recommended that all emergency 911 calls be placed from a wired VoIP phone or cellular phone. If current location information is properly updated, wired VoIP phones will generally convey the most detailed location information to the 911 operator, whereas, cellular phones only provide approximate location information. Regardless of the device from which the call is placed, it is crucial for the caller to give the address of their emergency to the 911 operator whenever possible.  

IT Services will periodically disseminate information to the campus reminding individuals to update any location information and discussing how 911 works when using VoIP resources. Information on how to keep ERL information updated is available on the IT Services VoIP page.

September 2019