Emergency e911 Notice: Using WesternU VoIP Systems

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services work differently from traditional land line telephones or cell phone services. Your physical location may not be automatically detected when you place a 911 phone call.

Unlike land lines and cell phones, VoIP allows you to make phone calls using an internet connection from anywhere in the world. The IT department maintains a database of all VoIP desk phones.  If you are mobile and your VoIP desk phone is relocated without authorization from WesternU’s IT Infrastructure Department, emergency responders receiving 911 calls may not automatically receive correct information on where you are geographically located and could delay critical response times.

VoIP equipment with e911 limitations include wireless phones (not cell phones), soft clients (computer generated telephony) and desk phones when moved without authorization. At present, most WesternU employees have VoIP in the form of a Desk phone. For your safety we ask that you submit a telecom service request via https://support.westernu.edu when phone relocations are necessary. The service request process triggers updates to all systems including e911.

The following are examples of limitations to 911 emergency services using VoIP technology:

  • Relocating VoIP desk phones without prior authorization from Western University of Health Sciences’ IT Infrastructure Department may transmit incorrect phone numbers and/or location information to emergency responders. Please submit a telecom service request for desk phone relocations.
  • When you are mobile, a 911 call placed using VoIP service may not connect to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), which dispatches emergency personnel to assist a 911 caller.
  • When you are mobile VoIP 911 service may correctly connect to the PSAP, but not automatically transmit your phone number and/or location information.
  • When you are mobile VoIP 911 service may connect to a PSAP serving a county other than the one you are located in.
  • VoIP 911 service may not work during a power outage, or when the internet connection you are using to place the call fails or becomes overloaded.

Please review the following examples for the appropriate method to contact emergency 911 services while using WesternU phones and VoIP systems:

  • When working in your office, on a desk phone that has been installed and provisioned by the WesternU IT Infrastructure team, using your desk phone will provide emergency responders and WesternU security with your location information.
  • If you are telecommuting and utilizing a VoIP client to make phone calls, the client is not recommended for emergency services, please utilize your personal land line or cell phone.
  • At WesternU remote sites and clinics, please make sure to utilize the designated emergency phones, these emergency phones will contact local emergency services closest to the site.
  • Utilizing a collaboration tool like Microsoft Teams or Zoom is not recommended for emergency services, please utilize your desk phone (if on campus) or your personal device when remote.
Print Article


Article ID: 137142
Mon 8/23/21 1:27 PM
Tue 4/9/24 9:15 AM