9-1-1 and VOIP Information


 In 1968, 911 was designated the universal emergency telephone number in North America.  911 is a three-digit telephone number that you can call in an emergency 24 hours a day for police, fire or emergency medical services.  Dialing 911 saves valuable time in an emergency.

How To Call 911 ?

To call 911 from a home phone or a simple business phone, pick up the phone and press the numbers:  9-1-1.

To call 911 from a Centrex or PBX business extension, obtain an outside line and then press the numbers:  9-1-1.

To call 911 from a pay phone, no money is needed.  Simply pick up the receiver and the press the numbers:  9-1-1.

How Does 911 Work ?

When you dial 911 from a wire-line phone your call will be automatically routed to the 911 public-safety answering point (PSAP) that provides emergency services for the location from which you are calling.  When you dial 911 from a cellular phone, the call  should  be routed to the closest PSAP based on the location of the caller.  In some cases the PSAP that receives the initial 911 call may need to transfer the call to a secondary answering point.  The caller will be told that they are being transferred and instructed to remain on the line.  DO NOT hang up during the transfer.

911 is only a telephone number.  Quick response to emergencies depends on the important information provided by the caller.  If you call 911 the dispatcher who answers your call will ask you a series of questions.  Remain on the line, and be prepared to provide the following information:

What is the location of the emergency?

What is the phone number you are calling from?

What is the problem/emergency?

For medical emergencies, you will be asked the patient’s age, what is wrong with them, and whether they are conscious and breathing.


Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), also referred to as Internet Voice, is the latest telecommunications technology.  It allows people to make telephone calls using a digital broadband internet connection as opposed to traditional analog wireline phone service.

How Does VoIP Work ?

VoIP works by converting a standard telephone voice signal into a digital signal that travels over the internet.  VoIP calls can be made from a computer or from a standard telephone with an adapter.  VoIP calls can be received by both VoIP service subscribers and non-subscribers.  If a VoIP call is received by someone with a standard phone line, the signal is reconverted from digital back to analog before the call is answered.

VoIP technology requires a broadband internet connection.  The user can then make telephone calls with either their computer, a special VoIP phone, or a regular phone with an adapter.


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone service may look and appear to work like a regular telephone, but it connects to the internet, not a standard telephone line.  Despite the FCC ruling, some VoIP service providers may not currently offer enhanced 911 services to their subscribers.  Check your service provider’s website for emergency calling features.  If 911 services are available, be sure to give your location and call back number, as many VoIP services do not currently provide this information.  Also be advised that if the power is out, your VoIP telephone service may also be out.