Westchester County's 911 system enables emergency dispatchers to quickly identify the origin of a call for help and which emergency services cover that location.
The Department of Information Technology is responsible for the county's telecommunications infrastructure, including the technical and fiscal administration of the 911 system.
911 Operations in Westchester County
DoIT's GIS division also provides daily support for the system's mapping component. When you dial 911 from a landline in Westchester, you will be connected to operators at your local police department for immediate assistance. By routing calls to live dispatchers who see the address and number of the caller on a computer screen, the Enhanced 911 Service (E911) used by the county ensures efficient and professional response to police, fire and EMS emergencies.
When using a cell phone to dial 911, your call will first be routed to State Police who will then transfer your call to the appropriate local police department. It is important to note that E911 service is currently unavailable to callers dialing 911 on their cell phones.
Internet Phones (VoIP) and 911: What You Should Know
With more and more people turning to Internet phone service to save money, it is essential that these customers are capable of calling 911 in emergencies.
VoIP or “Internet” phones, which are rapidly growing in popularity, are being sold to the public without full disclosure of their shortcomings with regards to 911. While most traditional phones support enhanced 911 (E911) services which route calls to live dispatchers who see the address and number of the caller on a computer screen, many of the more technologically advanced phones – which allow calls to be made through the Internet – offer limited or no 911 service.
In addition, since VoIP equipment can be portable, people need to be aware that if the phone is moved, dispatchers may not know where they are and could send help to the wrong location.
Residents are advised to take the following actions:
- Survey the types of phones in your home. If one traditional landline phone has been retained, it should be designated for emergency use.
- At a minimum, verify that your VoIP carrier can relay a simple 911 call, in other words, that the call will go through. Do so by contacting the company directly either by phone or e-mail.
- If a basic 911 call can be made, then verify that your VoIP phone carrier supports enhanced 911. Do so by contacting the company directly either by phone or e-mail and inquire specifically about E911 and about what you need to do to ensure that the phone company knows the location of your VoIP phone.
- Subscribe to E911 service if you learn that it is offered by your carrier.
- Switch carriers or install a traditional telephone line if E911 service is not supported by your carrier.
On May 19, 2005, in the wake of tragedies linked to inadequate Internet-based 911 service, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to require Internet telephone carriers to provide E911. At that time, county officials recommended taking the necessary steps in the county to ensure life-saving 911 service before it was actually needed.
911-Related Web sites
- Emergency Services Interconnection Forum (ESIF) ESIF is a collaboration between Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and is an official ASTM standards organization. ESIF's PSAP Readiness Checklist was developed to supply PSAPs with a method to verify readiness and provide carriers with complete information, speeding the implementation process.
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC) The FCC's 911 home page.
- National Emergency Number Association (NENA) NENA's mission is to promote a universal emergency number system.
- National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) A professional organization representing the 32 states that currently have central 911 planning or administrative functions.
- Public Safety Foundation of America This foundation provides both financial grants and technical support to individual nonprofit public safety answering points (PSAPs) across the nation to help them prepare for wireless E911.