With a well managed and efficient E911 hosted solution in place, education facilities are provided with the benefit of ensuring that emergencies can be reported immediately and responded to with geographic accuracy, thus preventing injury or death and/or minimizing property damage. An E911 hosted solution also prevents wasting community resources by saving the time spent when first responders have to search for an emergency location.
With such benefits it would be expected that education facilities have educated themselves on the pros of implementing an E911 hosted solution. However, according to a recent study, "Dialing in on E911: Emergency Communications Awareness in Education,” conducted by Teo, a telecommunications company, it was revealed that a significant lack of knowledge existed among IT decision makers in K-12 and higher education organizations regarding the value and impact of Enhanced 911 (E911) technology.
As I’ve discussed before, many universities and other large organizations that have centralized telecommunications systems face a serious problem: the inability to provide accurate location information on 911 calls. Location information provided through a centralized PBX (News - Alert) in a traditional, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), or hybrid telecommunications environment may be either inaccurate or too general to help first responders find the exact emergency location. The result is greater risk to lives and/or property as responders spend time trying to find the emergency location.
As Teo’s study shockingly revealed, nearly 70 percent of respondents said their organization currently utilized a comprehensive emergency communications plan, but only one-third of education organizations actually enabled an E911 response system. Furthermore, 70 percent of decision makers surveyed were concerned about liability risks associated with their PBX technology, yet 78 percent did nothing to mitigate the risk.
Whether your state has passed E911 legislation or not, enterprises and education facilities need to think about the liability issues that result from incorrect or inadequate information being transmitted in the event of an emergency. Today, E911 hosted solutions are inexpensive.
Without a complete E911 hosted solution in place, responders cannot know the exact location of an ongoing emergency taking place on a school campus. As 911 ETC points out, this safety glitch should have hundreds of K-12 schools, colleges and universities across the nation investigating and taking measures to fully implement an E911 hosted solution.
Jaclyn Allard is a TMCnet Web Editor. She most recently worked on the production team at Juran Institute, a quality consulting firm producing its own training and marketing materials. Previously, she interned at Curbstone Press, a nonprofit publishing press in Willimantic, CT, and fulfilled the role of Editor-in-Chief for the literature and arts journal published by the University of Connecticut. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Janice McDuffee