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LuisPR
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:15 pm    Post subject: Vonage Puts VoIP 911 Caller on Hold, House Burns Down Reply with quote Back to top

[March 23, 2006]

Vonage Puts Voip 911 Caller on Hold, House Burns Down

By Johanne Torres
TMCnet Contributing Editor

Loren Veltkamp, a homeowner in Chanhassen, Minnesota, lost his house to a fire last month. When Veltkamp noticed that the fire had started, he immediately called 9-1-1 using Vonage. Unfortunately, Vonage put him on hold, causing a delay in the response from emergency workers.

"I called 911 using Vonage broadband and they put us on hold," Veltkamp said when he was interviewed by ABC channel 5 Eyewitness News Minneapolis/St. Paul. "Unbelievable… your house is burning down, and you're put on hold by Vonage."
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.

Vonage claims that nearly 70 percent of its customers now have E911 access, a feature that automatically associates a physical address with the calling party's telephone number.

The New Jersey-based provider has been updating its service with this feature steadily for the past six months. The company has announced that it has been turning up on average over 112 calling centers in more than 45 new counties each week. This month, Vonage has equipped an additional 170 calling centers in over 35 new counties with E911, bringing the total number of calling centers across the nation with emergency service to over 3600.

Voip service providers had to step up to the plate and get their E911 access up and running after the Federal Communications Commission ordered they do so back in June last year. The agency gave the companies 120 days to complete the difficult task. Vonage worked closely with local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), across the country to turn on E911 for as many customers as quickly as it could. Vonage is currently testing new PSAPs which are VoIP-ready every day.
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taylor2767
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Vonage Puts VoIP 911 Caller on Hold, House Burns Down Reply with quote Back to top

"Vonage claims that nearly 70 percent of its customers now have E911 access, a feature that automatically associates a physical address with the calling party's telephone number."


I totally disagree with this statement. I've been with Vonage for almost 1 year and live in the capitol of Ohio and no E911 yet!

Their claim to fame is a farce. There are 88 counties in Ohio and they've only managed to turn on 4 counties all of which are not very populated and have the least amount of users!
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Truth101
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

From: Vonage's Website:
At Vonage, we provide a safe and reliable means of communication in times of emergency.

Well, it doesn't seem so today.

Aren't false advertising and negligence crimes?

(And I believe they actually claim 90% have E911 - at least, that's what they told me...)
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firewall
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

This discussion already took place, this is not a new incident!!!!

http://www.vonage-forum.com/ftopic11631.html
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houuser
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I wonder if the delay was between the telephone company central office in his area, and the answering point for his 911 call.

If Vonage sent the call (from his dialing 911) to a central office which was having line problems, the delay could be until their system took notice of a problem. Could be a dead trunk line, or other items (depends on what type of central office his area has, there are three types that I know of (step, cross-bar and digital).

Vonage Customer Service should be able to advise when the call was received by their equipment, and his local telephone company should be able to advise when their equipment received and forwarded the call.

That would be an interesting question to ask his local telephone company which handles the 911 calls.
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dconnor
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

There are some very insightful comments regarding this story up on Slashdot tonight.

Apparently there is much more to this story than what is reported in the original post here.

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Last edited by dconnor on Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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VonageTPA
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:39 am    Post subject: Re: vonage fire Reply with quote Back to top

cobra2225 wrote:
a shame a family is without a home because Vonage
can't do there job.


Caca del toro! The average response time for fire/rescue in most areas is 8-10 minutes... Depending on the construction of the building and type of fire, this would represent a major portion of the house on fire. Even with POTS and E911, you're not going to be able to save some structures when you've got them fully engulfed in fire.

"5 alarm fire"s don't happen quickly, so he waited a good while before calling. If you read the original post, you can see that there's more to the story than what that one story said.

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SteveV
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Waste of discussion time Reply with quote Back to top

The fire, per the video linked from the original posting was VERY large, sufficient, given the ice and heavily wooded and brush covered terrain to be 5 alarms, in spite of seeing only two units worth of firefighters (which would make it TWO alarms).
For the fire to be THAT established it must have been burning for a heavily extended time. A delay of "a few minutes" hold is irrelevant. For that matter MOST emergencies a delay of a few minutes will not really make the difference in life, death or loss of property. If the condition is that dire the loss is inevitable.

I rather suspect all would've been better served to have let the man go back in the building and stay there...

Hint to the dense: If your house is on fire, *DO NOT* call for help inside the burning structure! Get out and call for help. If you're geographically distant from a neighbor, put a phone box outside.
If you want to call someone from a burning structure, call in for your Darwin award instead!

Roaches flee burning buildings. Rats and mice flee burning buildings. People flee TO burning buildings.
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blakadher
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

The more tragic item we can all take from this thread is the misuse of the words "their" and "there". Twisted Evil

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singingjim
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Just use your cellphone to dial 911. Problem solved. Vonage warns everyone who signs up that their 911 isn't the same as regular landline 911. That should send up a red flag right away. I would never use my Vonage line for 911, but then if you have a monitored alarm system on your house/apt. you need a land line anyway so you'd just have a phone hooked up to that and use the landline for 911. Like me. We make a lot of long distance calls so it's worth the cost of having to pay for a landline as well. But seriously, why would anyone use Vonage for 911 if they didn't have to? We all knew when we signed up that it wasn't a good idea.
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