E911: A Complete Guide

E911 is an emergency response and public safety system that links 911 callers to the appropriate emergency dispatch center.

It also provides the 911 dispatcher with the caller’s phone number and approximate location, which aids in sending police, fire, medical, or other responders to the right place without delay.

When someone makes a 911 call from a landline, the system automatically displays the caller’s phone number and approximate location to the 911 dispatcher. 

This helps dispatchers send the right emergency responders to the right location quickly. Having an E911 system in place literally can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. 

Read on to learn more about what E911 is, why businesses need it, how it works, and key facts about this important emergency response system.

E911: A Complete Guide

Some key facts about E911:

  • E911 was mandated in the U.S. by the Federal Communications Commission in 1996 to improve emergency response.
  • Landline E911 uses databases to associate a 911 caller’s phone number with a registered address.
  • Wireless E911 uses more advanced technology like GPS and cell towers to pinpoint a 911 caller’s location.
  • The dispatch center receiving the E911 call may not be the closest one to the caller if they are near jurisdictional borders.
  • Most countries have their version of an E911 system in place.

So in summary, E911 equips 911 dispatchers with crucial information to facilitate fast and accurate emergency response.

It has evolved from only covering landlines to locating wireless 911 calls from cell phones.

Why Your Business Needs E911?

There are several important reasons why every business needs E911 service in place:

  • It can speed up medical help in a workplace emergency. Knowing the exact business address helps paramedics arrive as fast as possible if an employee suffers a heart attack, traumatic injury, or other urgent health crisis.
  • It assists police response to crimes in progress like break-ins, thefts, disturbances, threats, etc. E911 provides the business address so police can get there rapidly.
  • It aids fire department response to building fires, smoke conditions, explosions, stuck elevators, and other fire-related emergencies.
  • It helps protect employees who feel unsafe from threatening customers, intruders, or other hazards at the workplace. They can call 911 discreetly if needed.
  • It keeps customers safe if they have a medical emergency, suffer an accident, or are victimized by a crime while at your business location.
  • It facilitates national security and disaster response if there is a terrorism threat, active shooter, natural disaster, or other large-scale emergency.

So E911 is a vital service that every business should have in place to protect their staff, customers, facilities, and the community at large in the event of any emergency.

Assign a Physical Address to Your Business

A key step in establishing E911 service is to assign a valid physical address to your business location.

This allows the 911 system to associate your company’s phone number with the exact spot where emergency responders should be dispatched.

Here are some tips for assigning an address:

  • If in a commercial building, use your suite or office number to identify the location within the larger address.
  • If operating from home, register the home address but make it identifiable as a business location.
  • Use simple, clear wording like “Building A, Suite 300, 123 Main Street.”
  • Avoid PO boxes or vague addresses that can’t pinpoint the business location.
  • Display the address prominently at the entrance or reception area in case callers don’t know it.
  • Inform all employees of the E911 business address and post it near phones.

Registering an accurate, specific address will go a long way in making E911 work effectively if emergency help is ever needed.

Adds Protection for Your Employees

Having E911 at your workplace adds a key layer of protection for employees in the event of an emergency. Here’s how:

  • Employees can discretely press 911 on the office phone system and know their location will display to the dispatcher if help is needed with an angry customer, intruder, crime in progress, or other threat.
  • If an employee suffers a health crisis like a heart attack, seizure, or serious fall, co-workers can call E911 to summon medical help rapidly.
  • For serious accidents like chemical exposures, electric shocks, head injuries, or major cuts, E911 speeds skilled emergency care.
  • If there is a fire, smoke condition, or stuck elevator, E911 brings firefighters who know exactly which building and floor to respond to.
  • In workplace violence, situations like an active shooter, a bomb threat, or a hostage incident, E911 dispatch of specially trained police units can help contain the threat.

So having E911 available allows employees to access emergency services quickly in any crisis.

It brings responders right to the employee’s location for the fastest possible response time.

E911 Keeps You Compliant

Legal and regulatory reasons exist for businesses to have E911 service in place. These include:

  • Many federal, state, and municipal laws mandate that all occupied buildings have E911 marking and display. Lacking it can result in fines.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations expect medical and fire emergency response plans to include E911 notification.
  • Fire codes require accurate posting of address numbers at entrances and common areas to assist emergency responders.
  • Construction permits often require new buildings to have E911 service operational before opening.
  • Insurance policies may require E911 to provide employee medical and liability coverage at a business site.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stipulations require emergency response systems like E911 to aid those with disabilities.

So ensuring your business has an operational E911 system is key for legal and regulatory compliance.

It’s just an expected safety service for any public-facing company or occupied building.


E911 is a critical emergency response system that every business should utilize. It quickly provides 911 dispatchers with your location so police, fire, medical, or other responders can be sent fast in any type of emergency.

E911 also aids first responders in natural disasters and national security threats. Having E911 service in place can save lives in a crisis.

It offers vital protection for employees and customers as part of a comprehensive workplace safety strategy.

And it helps keep businesses compliant with key laws and regulations. Registering an accurate address and posting it properly allows E911 to work effectively if ever needed.

So be sure to contact your local 911 service provider to establish Enhanced 911 for your business today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Ques 1: What information does E911 provide to dispatchers?

Ans: E911 provides the 911 caller’s phone number, registered address, and approximate location (for wireless callers) to dispatchers to help speed and accuracy in sending first responders.

Ques 2: Does E911 work on cell phones?

Ans: Yes, wireless E911 uses advanced technology like GPS satellite tracking, cellular towers, and triangulation to determine a 911 caller’s approximate location if they call from a mobile phone.

Ques 3: Does my old landline phone system work with E911?

Ans: Generally yes, even older landline phone systems are capable of providing 911 dispatchers with the caller’s registered address to help route first responders. Contact your phone provider to be sure.

Ques 4: Is E911 a free or paid service for businesses?

Ans: Most areas provide basic E911 service free of charge, but some advanced capabilities may require a monthly fee. Check with your state or local 911 administration office.

Ques 5: Are VoIP business phone systems E911 compatible?

Ans: VoIP phones are usually capable of E911 if registered properly with the 911 system administrator. But functionality can vary, so check with your VoIP phone provider.

Evelyn Brown
Evelyn Brown

Evelyn Brown is a knowledgeable and dedicated reviewer of business communication softwares. When she's not testing the latest platforms or providing in-depth analyses for his readers, you can find her playing guitar and hiking local trails.