Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has revolutionized communications by offering businesses and consumers a more affordable and flexible alternative to traditional landline phone services. However, when it comes to emergency services, the question remains: can VoIP be counted on to deliver critical information to first responders in a quick and reliable way?

In this article, we will explore whether VoIP can be used for emergency calling, and what the best practices are when it comes to VoIP-based emergency calling services management.

What is a PSAP?

When dialing emergency numbers such as 911, 999 or 112, calls are directed to a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). A PSAP is a call center that follows a specific operating policy to handle emergency calling. The service, also referred to as E911, plays a crucial role in identifying a caller's location and directing their call to the appropriate local PSAP.

By equipping the PSAP with the caller's location information, emergency responders can provide assistance in a fast and efficient manner, even in situations where the caller is unable to share their whereabouts.

Can VoIP be used for emergency services?

The short answer is yes, VoIP can be used for emergency services just like with the traditional phone service. Stringent regulations are in place to ensure that VoIP emergency calling services provide reliable access for users, regardless of the technology they use to make the call.

Regulation plays a critical role in verifying that location information is transmitted accurately and that applicable technical standards are met, which is crucial for emergency services to respond appropriately. By regulating VoIP emergency calling services, governments and regulatory bodies can ensure public safety, while promoting innovation and technological advancement in this field.

The regulations for VoIP emergency calling services vary by country, with each region having its own regulatory framework for reliable and effective emergency communications that are tailored to specific needs and requirements. As an example, such services in the US are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) through its E911 rules. Specifically, the FCC requires VoIP providers to offer 911 emergency calling capabilities that meet or exceed the standards set by traditional landline providers.

Best practices in using VoIP for emergency calling services

VoIP can be a reliable and efficient way to make emergency calls if you keep the following best practices in mind:

  1. Choose a reliable VoIP provider: When selecting a VoIP provider, make sure the  company offers reliable network connectivity and 24/7 customer support, and has a good track record for uptime and network security. Look for providers offering Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees and redundant network connections to ensure that your emergency calls can be completed even in the event of an outage.
  2. Register your location: When signing up for VoIP service, register your physical location with the VoIP provider so that emergency services can be properly dispatched to your address in case of an emergency.
  3. Test your service: When setting up an emergency calling service, it is advisable to test whether it is working properly. Make sure you have the correct emergency numbers programmed into your device or phone, and know how to use the service should an emergency occur.

By following the above guidelines and working with a reliable VoIP provider, you can leverage the benefits of VoIP while also ensuring the ability to make emergency calls when they are needed most.

In addition, compliant VoIP providers deploy fully redundant and resilient voice solutions to ensure a high level of emergency service availability. Reliable telecom providers, such as DIDWW, with the uptime of their services reaching 99,998%, assure enterprises that in the event of an emergency, calls will be rapidly delivered to the relevant PSAP.

Meeting the highest standards of regulatory compliance, DIDWW ensures reliable connectivity to PSAPs via local dialing in 27 countries. The DIDWW Emergency Dialing service allows outgoing emergency calls from virtual phone numbers, thereby enabling DIDWW customers to enter new markets covering a diverse range of business initiatives, including those requiring compliance with the most stringent telephony regulations.