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Internet Telephony: September 30, 2010 eNewsLetter
September 30, 2010

Why You Should Adopt an E911 System

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Dialing 9-1-1 is the reflex reaction to a crisis or emergency. When a 9-1-1 call is made from the home phone, the address of the home is retrieved and displayed on the call taker’s screen, and help is dispatched.

“A simple street address, however, isn’t much help if the 9-1-1 call comes from a large office building or a multi-building campus,” says a study from RedSky (News - Alert) titled “A Closer Look at E911,” adding that “the caller may be unable to indicate a specific location within the building or campus because of a heart attack or may not know or be able to describe his or her location.” Sixteen states have laws requiring E911 systems to avoid just such situations.

But there are other good reasons for them, besides it just being the law, the study finds:

Protect employees and assets. Loss of life due to fire, an act of violence or an employee medical emergency can have a devastating impact financially and emotionally on an organization. By providing rapid emergency response to employees with E911, enterprises demonstrate a commitment to the safety of their employees while protecting the enterprise and minimizing disruptions that could result from an incident.

Crisis Liability

We live in a litigious society. Protecting the enterprise from a lawsuit is a legitimate and important aspect of corporate and organizational operations. More than two million people suffer from on-the-job violence annually, which costs employers $36 billion. Court decisions have held institutions and managers personally liable for safety negligence.

Corporate Imperative

Owners and managers are now being held to a greater standard of care concerning the safety of their employees, tenants and guests. According to an executive at a Fortune 500 company, “You enter the situation thinking about compliance and liability... but then you come out of the situation with a good feeling that you have helped save a life or head off a tragedy.”

It’s the law. Well, yeah. That too. Typically, the laws require an enterprise to define the location of callers within their buildings so emergency responders can provide prompt response. Non-compliance can have penalties. In Illinois, for example, non-compliant businesses could face fines of up to $5,000. Permits to operate have been held until enterprises have demonstrated E911 compliance.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Erin Monda


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