VoIP Internet Phones and Emergencies: What You Need to Know

When you start using VoIP internet phones, it is important to know a few essential facts about how they factor into emergency situations. This is because they do not operate quite the same as your landline or cell phone. Knowing the right information regarding VoIP internet phones is therefore crucial, and could even mean the difference between life and death.

Issue One: Paying the Bill

On your cell phone, you can often call 911 or some other emergency service for several weeks after paying a bill (sometimes, even indefinitely so long as the battery is charged). The same cannot be said of your VoIP internet phones. If you do not add emergency services onto your plan – and then proceed to pay your bills on time – you will not be able to call out, even if you are about to die. Of course, this may vary with your service provider, so you should always ask about it.

Issue Two: Location, Location, Location

The other thing about landlines and especially cell phones is that they are able to locate you, almost immediately these days. You call emergency services and your address or location will frequently pop up. That’s how they seem to know your name, and how they direct the police or fire department to you, even if you become unable to finish the call (it’s also why you shouldn’t prank call them). VoIP doesn’t’ always work the same way. Indeed, it can be difficult for the service to properly direct your emergency call to the right emergency call center when you are using VoIP internet phones. This is probably the biggest disadvantage regarding VoIP phones.

Issue Three: Lights Out

 Many (if not all) VoIP internet phones require electricity to work. After all, they often use your computer and/or internet router. Those devices, in turn, have power cords and do not operate without electricity. So if you’re in the middle of an emergency that leaves you without any power, you may well be without a phone, too. Potential emergency situations which could leave you in the dark include flooding, earthquakes and power line explosions. Do bear in mind, however; there are situations which could also render your landline unusable – such as the aforementioned flooding. No phone system can account for every possible danger.

Other Considerations

It is easy to get overwhelmed by what could happen in the event of an emergency, but before you panic or turn in your VoIP system, consider a few important facts.

One of them is the fact that VoIP technology is constantly improving. It is getting better and better all the time and it may not be that far along before VoIP is able to more efficiently handle your emergency situations.

A second consideration is that many people own cell phones. If you own a cell phone, you will still be able to call emergency services from that cell. This means you have a back-up, should anything go wrong with your VoIP phone.

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