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E911 Not Pervasive in Education

Enhanced 911 hasn't gained widespread adoption in schools yet, nor is it even well understood among IT people. Although 65 percent of education organizations reported they have a "comprehensive" emergency communication plan in place, only 40 percent currently use an E911 system.

Those are some of the findings of a survey sponsored by a company that sells E911 products. Teo, formerly Tone Commander, recently worked with a market research firm to survey 100 IT people in K-12 and higher ed to understand how extensive E911 awareness was in the educational environment.

An E911 system provides additional location information when an emergency call comes in from an environment with a central phone system, such as a PBX. Typically, all that's exposed in a 911 call is the street address, not the floor, wing, or room from which the call originated. E911-added details--such as coded maps of a building layout--can help public safety people locate the caller more quickly. Other features of E911 can include emergency contact numbers, response procedures, and the ability to alert multiple people of the situation.

Among respondents who don't have an E911 system in place, 45 percent acknowledged their lack of awareness of the technology; 27 percent cited lack of need; and 11 percent said they expected E911 to present potential integration problems.

"Integrating an E911 response solution into an existing telecommunications infrastructure can help decrease the risks associated with emergency management in school communities by establishing a centrally managed communication system that automates and streamlines key processes," said Teo President Steve Hill. "An E911 response system enables on-site personnel to have access to immediate and accurate information of an emergency event, allowing for better coordination and improved emergency responses."

Teo's E911 customers include the Bedford School District in Pennsylvania and Vassar College in New York.

The company's survey report is available with registration.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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