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Reverse 911

March 28, 2012

Most of us know to call 911 in case of a police, fire or medical emergency. With a Reverse 911 system, emergency services personnel can also notify residents and businesses about a potential emergency circumstance.  The obvious uses for Reverse 911 are wildfire or hurricane but the system has been used to assist with locating missing persons such as an Alzheimer’s patient who wandered away.  In the event of an emergency, the system will call all listed telephone numbers within a geographic area and deliver a recorded message that describes the situation and recommends the protective actions residents should take.

The Reverse 911 system does have some limitations:

People with unlisted numbers or blocked numbers will not be notified.  It is recommended that you contact your local municipality and have your phone manually added to the database.

Cell phone numbers are not included in the system database. Cell phone numbers can be manually entered into the system either as part of a notification list or linked to a specific address. If linked to a specific address, the location of the cell phone number becomes essentially fixed to that location for emergency notification.

Voice over IP (VoIP) phone may not be in the Reverse 911 directory.  Contact your service provider to see if they are “E911 compliant” or contact your local emergency services office.

The system will not work with phone lines having call screening features — it is designed to play the recorded message upon voice activation, such as a person saying “hello” or an answering machine recording.

Not all communities offer a Reverse 911 service, but if this available, consider registering your cell phone or unlisted number.  Thanks for reading! Subscribe to Avanti Services via RSS or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated.

Reverse 911 is a system developed by Cassidian Communications, formerly PlantCML, a unit of EADS North America. The term is a registered trademark in the United States.

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