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Dave48167
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Joined: Jan 10, 2006
Posts: 14
Location: Northville, MI

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:02 am    Post subject: Test your 911 service - It could be set up wrong! Reply with quote Back to top

I've been a happy Vonage subscriber since April 2004. I activated my 911 service at that time and have NOT made any changes since then.

I recently tested my 911 service and found it was going to an emergency dispatcher over 20 miles from my home - to a police agency that does not service my area. Evil or Very Mad (The correct agency is within a mile of my home.)

This is the second time Vonage has changed my 911 service such that it goes to the wrong emergency dispatch! I believe this is being done when they modify/update their database.

I asked Vonage Account Management if they had any means to determine if other subscribers had this problem and was told "we will look into this situation". Yeah!

I urge everyone to test their 911 service periodically - it should cause no problem if you inform the dispatcher "This is a test" right up front, and explain the reason for the test.

A 911 service that doesn't work correctly is probably worse than none at all!
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iambarry
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Please do not test 911 by dialing 911. This is an extremely dangerous idea.

911 operators are there for emergencies. Sure, if one or two people dial in and take only a few seconds for a test it seems like it would be ok. But remember, even a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency.

There are a huge number of Vonage subscribers. If even a small number of users takes up a few seconds of 911 operators time each, the results could be tragic.

If there's a problem, Vonage needs to test their system thoroughly. Users who are conserned should call Vonage. A few secons of Vonage's customer support time will not kill anyone. A few seconds of 911's time wasted might.

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jnuzzi
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I have wanted to test my 911 ever since I signed up for Vonage but I have been reluctant for this reason. I am just not sure that calling 911 and then saying "this is only a test" is the best thing for people to be doing. I can understand that you would like to know if it works, but what about the other people that are tyring to call 911 at the same time. They probably have a real emergency (unless they too have Vonage) and may have to wait while you perform your test.

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maryjane
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Joined: Dec 22, 2005
Posts: 409
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

This is straight from the Vonage Official Site:

Do I need to test 911 Dialing?

No. You do not need to test 911 Dialing. If you have received an email confirmation from Vonage stating that your 911 Dialing has been activated, then 911 Dialing will work should you ever need it. Please note, testing 911 Dialing when there is not an emergency can be punishable by law in certain states. We advise you to check your local and state laws for more information. If you do choose to test 911 Dialing, you must immediately inform the emergency response personnel that it is not an emergency and that you are testing your Vonage 911 service to make sure it's working. If they ask why you are testing the system, explain that you are using an Internet phone service that operates differently than the traditional phone company. If the operator tells you to dial another number, please inform Vonage Customer Care at 1-VONAGE-HELP (1-866-243-4357).

The state of Minnesota encourages Minnesota residents to test Vonage 911 Dialing once.

If you would like to find out the status of your 911 dialing you may dial 933 from your Vonage phone. By Dialing 933, Vonage will let you know where your call will route to when you dial 911.
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NateHoy
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Joined: Nov 01, 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Call-testing 911 is encouraged in some states (very infrequently), discouraged in others, and outright illegal in a few.

As the Vonage "933" number says, be sure to check your local laws before proceeding with a 911 test. Though unlikely, that test could net you a steep fine if your laws prohibit test calls. Call your local police station on their non-emergency number and ask how you should test first.

Having said that, if you verify that a test is OK, and you immediately and clearly identify yourself as a test call, you are not "blocking" any other inbound 911 calls in a properly set-up call center. A 911 operator will see that another call is coming in, and your test call will terminate rather abruptly if they have other calls coming in that cannot be handled by other operators.

It would be nice, however, if the 911 system had included a subsystem for end-user testing. Dialling "922", for example, or a published local number could read off a person's address based on what the 911 operator would see in a synthesized voice, or route the call to the 911 op center on a separate "test" line that autodisconnects if a real 911 call comes in unhandled, etc.

_________________
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wimberle
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

...and if you really want to test your 911 service but are afraid you will get in trouble....call your local police departments non-emergency number and express your desire. they can tell you if you should or should not test your 911 service.
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scalo
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Joined: Dec 27, 2005
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Dave,
I posted in another thread because I did not see yours.
Everyone MUST somehow check your 911 address that is displayed when you call 911. I did a test of 911 last night here in New Hampshire and found that they have the wrong address and name listed for my phone number. I checked the address I have listed on Vonage and it is correct, but the number that 911 had was completely wrong. To check the address I called my local Police department in Milford, NH and asked about doing to a test call to 911, they told me that if I called 911 and even told them that it was a test call that they would have to dispatch a patrol car to my house and I felt they had better things to do than that. So the officer transferred me to the dispatcher who I explained everything to and was more than willing to help me out. He placed a call to Concord where the main 911 is located and explained to them I wanted to test my Voip E911 service. I then called 911 and told them who I was and what I was doing, and then asked what address, if any was displayed and she gave me an address and name from another town. I told her this was incorrect and she told me that she would put in a change of address form for the correct address. This is very important for everyone to make sure that your information is correct, I would hate to think that one of my 3 daughters had to call 911 and could not talk for whatever reason and then have the police go to the wrong house because Vonage screwed up and had the wrong information listed for my phone number. The other thing that was odd was after I completed my test of 911 and hung up, my phone would not stop ringing and there was never anyone there and everytime I hung it would just ring until I rebooted my Linksys combo box. I am sorry that this is so long but it is very important information that everyone should know. Like I said before call your local police department before you call 911 and make sure what the laws are about testing your E911 service.
Good Luck
Scott
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Dave48167
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Joined: Jan 10, 2006
Posts: 14
Location: Northville, MI

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

iambarry wrote:
If there's a problem, Vonage needs to test their system thoroughly. Users who are conserned should call Vonage. A few secons of Vonage's customer support time will not kill anyone. A few seconds of 911's time wasted might.


Again, I suggest you test your 911 to ensure the call will go to the correct dispatcher. I have not idea what testing Vonage has done to the system, but in my case the system does not work correctly (perhaps as designed, but not correctly!).

I have made numerous calls to Vonage Customer Service and Acct. Management Deptartments and they have been unable to tell me what city my call will be directed to.

I have learned that much of Vonage's 911 service is contracted to a third party (name unknown to me) who in turn sub's it out to Northern911, the company that actually takes the call to the dispatcher.

The Northern911 operator will verify your name and address then contact the emergency 911 dispatch that is nearest to your home, not necessarily the correct one. In my case, they insist on calling Novi, MI first even though their screen clearly shows (and I tell them) that I live in Northville, MI. Their policy is that they go down the list until (hopefully) they come to the correct 911 dispatch for your calling location, akin to a game of Russian Roulette.

Other times (at Vonage's whim?) my call has gone directly to an emergency 911 dispatcher w/o third party intervention, but not the correct 911 dispatch for my location. I have been told that this dispatcher can transfer the call to the Northville, MI dispatch.

IMHO, the system is broken and subscriberss need to test it periodically until it is fixed.

It would be nice if Vonage could tell us exactly what dispatch their data base indicates our call should be directed to, but to date I have unable to get this info from Vonage.

I sure hope they get this all straightened out before they transition me to E911 in ???, 200?!


Last edited by Dave48167 on Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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wimberle
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Location: Tyler, Texas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Yes! Good idea. If they could show a staus message on the Dashboard showing where your 911 call will curently go, it would offer some reassurance to Vonage users. In addition, it would protect Vonage from law suits.
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bryanflynn
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Joined: Jan 25, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

What about a message on the FEATURE tab where it actually has 911 Calling listed? That box already allows you to edit your address on file and even tells you that your 911 service is "activated" and/or the status of activation. This would seem to be a logical place for such information.

Also, I realize the PSAP 911 numbers are private and protected by the local carriers and governments to prevent people from outside the service area boundary from calling a wrong number or placing fake calls that cannot be legally prosecuted because of jurisdiction complications. However, the station numbers or/and physical cities where the stations are located are public knowledge! A status on this menu reporting that my calls are being sent to a PSAP in Lexington, KY (or # corresponding to Lexington, KY) would make me feel considerably more at ease than simply "Activated"! Also, if I saw on this page that my 911 calls were being forwarded to a 911/E911 station in Louisville, KY I would know something needed to be fixed quickly as that is over an hour away from me.

Basically, if the system can show a user has activated the service, then the location where 911 is sent is stored in some database, so would it require a tremendous effort by Vonage to supply some of the non protected additional information that would relieve concerns of customers and prevent a superfluous number of 911 test calls?
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