Home Security

E911 – What Is Enhanced 911, How Does It Work & More (FAQ)

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Phone with E911 on screen (Caption: everything you need to know about E911) Using E911 is crucial in the event of emergencies and has definite benefits over the traditional 911 service we’re all used to. But E911 can be confusing. We’ve put together this FAQ to help you better understand how E911 works and how it differs from 911.

E911 FAQs

  1. How Does 911 Work?
  2. What Is E911?
  3. How Do I Find My E911 Address?
  4. What Is An E911 Chip?
  5. What’s The Presidential Alert E911 Chip?
  6. Is There A 911 Fee?
  7. Are There E911 Fees & Taxes?
  8. Does E911 Work On TracFones?
  9. Does Google Voice Support E911?
  10. Is There An E911 Certification?
  11. How Is E911 Beneficial For Self-Monitored Home Security Systems?

1) How Does 911 Work?

When you dial 911, your call routes to the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN), which verifies your location and connects you with the closest PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) in your area.

The PSAP dispatches emergency personnel to your location. With regular 911 calls, emergency services connect directly with the general physical address from which you’re calling.

9-1-1 System

2) What Is E911?

E911 (Enhanced 911) is a system in North America that provides a more precise location of the caller to the 911 dispatcher. You can update your E911 information with your phone service provider whenever you change locations. Support for E911 is mandated by the U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) for traditional mobile phone and VoIP service.

Let’s go through a scenario. You’re in your apartment complex which has more than 300 apartments in the building and 15 floors. A fire begins while you’re cooking dinner, and you’re trapped in your apartment. You dial 911 and your location is immediately sent to PSAP and emergency services are dispatched to your location. Thanks to E911, you can provide more detail about your location, including the floor you’re on, your apartment number and the side of the building you’re on. This can save valuable time, multiple lives and thousands of dollars in property damage.

3) How Do I Find My E911 Address?

Contact the company you use for your phone, VoIP or home security service. The instructions will vary depending on the provider you use.

4) What Is An E911 Chip?

There is no such thing. E911 uses the phone’s built-in GPS.

5) What Is The Presidential Alert E911 Chip?

The wireless emergency alert system that sends Amber alerts and severe weather notifications also sends presidential alerts to your mobile device. There is no E911 chip needed to receive these alerts, and this does not allow access to your camera or microphone.

6) Is There A 911 Fee?

It is illegal to charge for 911 calls. However, you may incur a service fee on your monthly bill to help cover the expenses for 911 calls.

7) What Are E911 Fees & Taxes?

This is a monthly fee charged to VoIP customers in the U.S. for E911 service, similar to 911 fees in the FAQ above.

8) Does E911 Work On TracFones?

If the TracFone has GPS capabilities, it should work with E911, but it’s always best to ask the carrier first.

9) Does Google Voice Support E911?

Google Voice doesn’t support E911. However, you can call 911 if you’re a business or school, but if you’re using Google Voice for personal use, dialing 911 will fail.

10) Is There An E911 Certification For Dispatchers?

There is no E911-certification. If you are 911-certified, you have met your dispatcher certification requirements.

11) How Is E911 Beneficial For Self-Monitored Home Security Systems?

E911 can be extremely beneficial for those who have a self-monitored home security system. Picture this, you’re out of town and receive a notification that your security system is going off.

You can use E911 to contact authorities close to your home instead of dialing 911 and being dispatched to authorities closest to your current location. This can save valuable time in an emergency.

Would you prefer not to worry about E911 at all and have a professionally monitored home security system and central monitoring station do all this for you so you can sleep soundly at night and while you’re away on vacation? Check out our pro-monitored home security system reviews.

E911 Is Still Pretty Confusing

In complete transparency, it’s still unclear exactly how to setup E911 with each provider since it can vary. Unfortunately, there isn’t one source we can point you to where you can get all your information on E911 since it can depend upon the phone carrier, home security company, etc.

As we learn more, we’ll update this article to bring you the most up to date information. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience with us, and if you have any sources to share with us that have helped provide clarity on this topic, feel free to share them with us.

Have you setup your E911 profile?

Kimberly Alt

Kimberly is our home security expert and has been writing about security and safety since 2013, covering everything from security systems and home automation to identity theft protection, home warranties, medical alert systems, and more. She has personally tested hundreds of system components and interfaced with dozens of home security companies to find out what’s happening behind the scenes. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post. In 2018, she had her first child, which opened up a whole new avenue of security experience with baby gear. She wanted to purchase the safest items for her family. Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing products and services.

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