There are important differences in the way 911 service operates with a VoIP phone service when compared with traditional telephone service. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Differences between traditional 911 service and VoIP phone 911
With traditional phone services, your 911 call is sent directly to the nearest emergency response centre. With VoIP phone service, your 911 call is forwarded to a third-party service provider that will automatically or manually route your call to the emergency response centre.
Fongo’s Recommendation: Due to the limitations regarding VoIP 9-1-1 calling, we recommend Fongo Mobile users use the native phone app on their mobile device to place 9-1-1 emergency calls. Why?
- In Canada, mobile devices will always have the ability to call 9-1-1 emergency service, even without a SIM card or cellular voice plan
- 9-1-1 operators may be able to use your device’s GPS to locate you
- VoIP 9-1-1 calls go through a central dispatch to determine which local dispatch to send the call to whereas cellular 9-1-1 calls will automatically go to the closest local 9-1-1 dispatch
Remember to verify your location
Because you can move your VoIP phone between locations and because, for technical reasons, the emergency operator may not have your name, location or contact information available, you must immediately inform the emergency operator of your location and contact particulars any time you call 911. Do not risk sending police or ambulance services to the wrong location.
Be prepared during any service interruption
VoIP phone service depends not only on your continued subscription for the service, but also on Internet connectivity and power to function. In the event of power, network, or Internet outages (including congestion), or if your service is disconnected or suspended due to non-payment, you may experience a failure, disruption or delay in your 911 service. We recommend that you keep an alternative phone service (such as a cellular telephone) handy to increase the reliability of your access to emergency services during any service interruption.
Do not disconnect
Until you are told to do so by an emergency dispatcher, do not disconnect your 911 call. If you are inadvertently disconnected, call back immediately.
Keep your service residential address up to date
Fongo will attempt to provide the emergency operator with your service residential address, so please ensure that your information on file with Fongo is always accurate and updated. If you do not do this (for example, if you are unable to speak during a 911 call), the emergency operator may assume that you are calling from the last registered residential address. Be advised that it may take up to 3 days for your address information to be updated with 911 third-party service providers.
Inform other users
You must notify members of your household and other potential users of your VoIP phone service of the nature and limitations of 911 emergency calls.
Limitations of liability
Fongo’s terms of service limit and disclaim liability related to VoIP 911 service, so please read these carefully. For a complete description of Fongo’s VoIP 911 service, please see Fongo’s terms of service here.
911 service is available only in Canada. 911 emergency calling is not available on Fongo World Edition.