E911 Disclosure

How is 911 calling affected by the new VoIP phone system at Carleton

New phones have required the 911 system to adapt

When a landline is used for a 911 call, it is easy for the call takers to know the location of the caller. With mobile phones and internet calling, that situation has become more challenging.

Carleton has recently converted its phone service from landline to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). VoIP systems use the same network as the Internet for phone calls.

Since VoIP services can be used from virtually any internet connection anywhere, this raises challenges for the emergency services community in determining the location from which a 911 call has originated. (From the FCC.)

E911 Disclosure

E911” stands for Enhanced 911 and involves standards established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Unlike standard 911, E911 provides the 911 emergency call center with the caller’s phone number and location. The location associated with each phone number is provided to Carleton’s provider (Metronet) on a monthly basis. Given that VoIP phones aren’t fixed to a specific location, this document will explain the current limitations of E911 for Carleton-provided phone services. 

For your safety, Carleton community members using VoIP devices (physical phones) or software must review and acknowledge their awareness of the current limitations of E911. If you dial 911 using your work extension and are NOT in your registered office, the emergency personnel will receive an inaccurate location. In those circumstances, you must be prepared to give and are responsible for providing the operator your phone number, specific and detailed location information (e.g., building, floor, room/cubicle number), and any other information that is requested or needed for responders to locate you. 

This is especially the case when using the Zulu softphone while working remotely. To better assist emergency responders in quickly and accurately identifying the location of an emergency, your first choice should be to call 911 from a personal cell phone or home landline. If you do choose to call 911 from a Carleton-provided VoIP phone or device, please note that the 911 operator will need information  to determine your  exact location.

On an annual basis, Carleton community members with a Carleton phone number will be asked to acknowledge receipt of this information and the limitations of E911 service due to the mobility of the devices and software used to provide Carleton telephone services.

E911 Limitations

  • E911 may not function in the event of a power failure.
  • E911 may not function in the event of network congestion, degradation, disruption, or an outage, including the on-campus network and the connection to the Internet.
  • E911 may not function in the event of system maintenance or outage.
  • E911 may not be available if your phone service is suspended or terminated by Carleton College.
  • The College does not control how 911 calls are answered or handled by any national or local emergency response centers. The College relies entirely upon third parties to route E911 calls to national and local emergency response centers.
  • E911 location updates are submitted monthly to Carleton’s telecommunications provider, but these updates are not instantaneous.

User Responsibility for E911 Data Accuracy

You are responsible for ensuring that your phone location is accurate by reviewing your Carleton directory information.

  • Submit corrections in a TDX ticket  or email the Helpdesk@carleton.edu.
  • Any time a Carleton community member (with a Carleton phone number) changes their office location, they must submit a TDX ticket so the College’s records are up to date and accurate.

Questions regarding E911

If you do not understand or have any questions about the information contained in this disclosure, submit your questions through the form below.

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