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riddler
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Joined: Dec 18, 2005
Posts: 83
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: Internet phone delays 911 response to fire Reply with quote Back to top

Found this today..
Everyone needs to be concerned with how their 911 service is handled in their area....Please Read.....


Updated: 02/24/2006 08:20:30 AM

The owner of a Chanhassen home completely destroyed by fire was distraught at his loss, and says it could have been prevented if his Internet phone service hadn’t placed his 911 call on hold.

The fire started at approximately 1:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon on the 6700 block of Lotus Trail in Chanhassen.

The home’s owner, Loren Veltkamp, says when he called 911, he was put on hold by the popular Internet phone service, Vonage.

"I called 911 using Vonage broadband and they put us on hold," he says. “Unbelievable… your house is burning down, and you’re put on hold by Vonage.”

Veltkamp waited on hold for several minutes.

By the time fire crews arrived, the fire had become a five-alarm blaze. The house was a total loss, but no one was injured.

However, Veltkamp twice entered the burning home to remove a personal computer with music he had created over many years.

"When I was ordered out of the building, I didn't want to comply with that,” Veltkamp said.

Fire crews convinced him to leave, but he later re-entered the home – followed by police.

"They chased me in, saying they were going to taze me if I didn't come out,” Veltkamp said.

He then ran from police through the house, and escaped out of the basement.

“When I got back outside again, they put me in handcuffs and put me in the back of a squad car,” he said. “Then I collapsed and cried for a while, and I don't know, it's going to be hard."

Authorities say they have seen problems with Internet phone services before.

”It's kind of a ‘buyer beware’ situation,” says Pete Eggimann, Director of 911 Services with the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board.

A traditional, land-line phone company will enter a customer's information into a 911 database using strict guidelines.

However, customers of Internet-based phone services must enter their address information on their own, and are not required to follow such strict guidelines.

Another complication is that Internet phone companies have their own emergency call centers that attempt to redirect calls to the correct 911 center. This process can cause delays in reaching emergency services.
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navydavy2001
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Joined: May 26, 2005
Posts: 1125
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

If anything, this underscores the imporatnce of having a backup, i.e cell phone, stripped down local number, etc.

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riddler
Vonage Forum Senior
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Joined: Dec 18, 2005
Posts: 83
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I agree..
I think you can still dial 911 with a cellphone that doesnt have service(correct me if im wrong)...but it wouldnt be a bad idea to keep one laying around...
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firewall
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Joined: Feb 04, 2006
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

There is something wrong here!

You CANNOT go back into a house that is "fully involved" I've been in the fire service for over 30 years, it just does not happen, forget what you see on TV. If the FD arrived in a time frame that allowed anybody to enter the building then the fire should have been controllable, absent no water or firefighters

He then ran from police through the house, and escaped out of the basement.

“When I got back outside again, they put me in handcuffs and put me in the back of a squad car,” he said. “Then I collapsed and cried for a while, and I don't know, it's going to be hard."

Really!

It would seem to me that authorities arrived well within a reasonable time. The Vonage call center probably put him on hold to call the proper FD call center.

I am all for having backups upon backups for calling 911 and associated emergencies, but I don't think this particular incident is reason for concern!
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riddler
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Joined: Dec 18, 2005
Posts: 83
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Got the story off of a news channel 5 website....So they can make things out to be a little more dramatic than it actually is....

If a house is on fire...I RUN OUT ....Not IN
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Talk4Cheap
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Joined: Oct 21, 2005
Posts: 60
Location: Tennessee

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I agree Firewall - if the Police and Fire Dept. were already there telling him not to go into the house, it couldn't have been that bad of a fire when they arrived.

Think it's just a News outlet looking to make more of a story than it may actually be.
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navydavy2001
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The ONLY reason I'd EVER go back in my burning house was if my wifey or any of the animals were still in there. On second thought, if they weren't out of the house, I wouldn't have been yet. He saved a stupid computer? What an idiot.

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Kuka
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Joined: Dec 31, 2005
Posts: 85
Location: Overseas

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Yeah he is an idiot. Who runs into a burning building to save a computer?
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jnuzzi
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Joined: Feb 02, 2005
Posts: 216
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:54 am    Post subject: Re: Internet phone delays 911 response to fire Reply with quote Back to top

riddler wrote:
The home’s owner, Loren Veltkamp, says when he called 911, he was put on hold by the popular Internet phone service, Vonage.

So did he call Vonage or 911? How did Vonage put him on hold?

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NateHoy
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Joined: Nov 01, 2005
Posts: 2257
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:44 am    Post subject: Re: Internet phone delays 911 response to fire Reply with quote Back to top

jnuzzi wrote:
riddler wrote:
The home’s owner, Loren Veltkamp, says when he called 911, he was put on hold by the popular Internet phone service, Vonage.

So did he call Vonage or 911? How did Vonage put him on hold?


In areas without E911, in many cases, the 911 call is forwarded to a national call center maintained by or at least contracted by Vonage.

Unfortunately, people can and do get put on hold when calling 911. There are only so many operators, and with budgets being what they are, 911 centers cannot be staffed at a level that absolutely guarantees that every call will be answered on the first ring, or even in a "reasonable time".

However, the addition of the Vonage 911 call centers between you and your local 911 center does mean that you double your risk of being placed on hold. If the Vonage call center is busy, you may end up on hold with them. Then, when they answer, if your local call center is busy, you may be on hold there, too.

And, yes, I've been placed on hold when calling 911. Fortunately, in my case, it was somewhat of a false alarm (employee with known cardiac condition who suddnely panicked that he couldn't feel his legs, turned out to be nothing serious once he got to the hospital). That extra 90 seconds to get through to a 911 rep felt like an eternity. I had someone else look up the local number for an ambulance service, but by the time they had the number looked up and started dialing, the 911 rep was back.

In this guy's case, I think I'd be running to a neighbor's house and using their phone. In fact, in ANY case I'd be using a neighbor's phone. After all, your phone lines are INSIDE the fire zone (subject to toasting at any second), and you are dependent on the phone line and the electricity (even with a landline) to make the call (since you would by definition be on cordless if you are calling about a fire, at least I would HOPE so).

Regardless, the delay is worrying. I'm not trying to minimize that. I would certainly hope that Vonage or their contracted 911 center would re-evaluate staffing levels based on this incident.

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