Testing E911 Systems

Do you test your E911 solution regularly? Periodic testing will improve reliability, enable faster, more effective emergency response, and help your organization avoid penalties for non-compliance. Whether from your main campus, branch office, or home, testing provides assurance that 911 calls from your system are being routed to the appropriate public safety answering point (PSAP), and emergency responders have accurate address information for all your endpoints.

Timing and Frequency for E911 Testing

When endpoints are initially provisioned, E911 testing should be performed to verify routing and connectivity and ensure correct location information is being provided to the emergency dispatcher. Additionally, your E911 system should be thoroughly tested after significant changes or upgrades to your communication systems.

After initial testing, a representative sample of endpoints should be tested regularly to ensure changes or modifications to your communication system or endpoints do not affect the reliability and accuracy of location information being sent to emergency services. Regular testing should be included your company-wide disaster preparedness planning and conducted as often as emergency evacuation drills.

The frequency for ongoing E911 testing, as well as the number and types of endpoints you select to test, should be driven by the size and complexity of your communications systems. Organizations that move endpoints around regularly or have a large number of mobile and remote workers using softphone applications should test more often and more rigorously.

Conducting E911 Tests

Advanced E911 systems support three methods for testing the veracity of endpoint emergency location information; dialing 933, dialing the PSAP via their local number, and placing a live call to 911.

Dialing 933

Most E911 systems support dialing 933 to verify an endpoint’s emergency location information. 933 is an automated service that reads back the calling number along with the emergency location address that will be sent to the PSAP when the endpoint is used to call 911.

Dialing Emergency Response Through Their Local Number

You can call your PSAP via their local number to verify the calling number’s emergency response location. Let the person answering the phone know that this is a test and try to be as brief and professional as possible to avoid monopolizing the public safety services provider’s time.

Placing a Live 911 Test Call

You should familiarize yourself with local regulations and always coordinate with your PSAP before making any live 911 calls to test endpoints. Penalties can be imposed for calling 911 when there is not an emergency, even for testing purposes.

Try to schedule your tests at times that are convenient for the PSAP. Despite scheduling tests and notifying the PSAP ahead of time, when you make the test call, you should immediately inform the PSAP operator that your call is not an emergency, and you are testing your 911 service. Ask the emergency responder if they have a moment to validate your emergency location information or if there is a better time to call back later.

Need a Hand?

Ensuring your users are protected and your organization is compliant with ever-changing regulations requires regular E911 testing. Cerium Networks has significant experience testing, validating, and troubleshooting E911 solutions for a wide range of Cisco, Avaya, and Microsoft unified communication systems. If you are looking for a trusted technology partner to help with any aspect of your E911 solution, give us a call.

If you are looking for a trusted technology partner to help with any aspect of your E911 solution, give us a call.

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