How to Make Emergency Calls On VoIP?

Making emergency phone calls on VoIP may be a challenge in some situations because of how VoIP works. VoIP connections work by using the Internet to route phone traffic and other phone communications as packaged Internet data. Rather than use a landline to transmit this information, VoIP providers use the Internet. Since VoIP connections lack a specific location, emergency calls may be difficult to place.

  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)—A type of phone service using the Internet to transmit phone traffic instead of landline or cellphone towers. VoIP providers often need a manually-entered address so emergency responders can find the right address when emergency calls are placed.

In this article, we will talk about some of the reasons why emergency phone calls are more challenging for VoIP and we will also explain how to fix this for your VoIP account.

Article Contents:

  1. Why is it Hard to Make Emergency Calls with VoIP Accounts?
  2. Technical Issues to Overcome
  3. How to Make Emergency Calls

By the end, you should know about the technical issues with VoIP emergency calls and you should have a good strategy for overcoming these problems. We will walk you through each step so you know how to address these issues.

1. Why is it Hard to Make Emergency Calls with VoIP Accounts?

There are technical issues to overcome with VoIP accounts that may make emergency phone calls more challenging, but it is possible to make them. You can also generally implement a simple fix and, after that, make emergency phone calls whenever you need to with your VoIP account.

VoIP phone service works differently than other forms of phone service such as cellphone service and can help you save money on your phone bill. It uses the Internet to route phone traffic. As a result, it is usually much cheaper for phone companies to offer VoIP service than it is to offer traditional service. Since VoIP is cheaper to operate, it generally costs less to have a VoIP subscription.

VoIP accounts are very portable and can be brought with you while traveling. You can also work remotely with VoIP and connect multiple phones to the same account and phone numbers. Unfortunately, VoIP’s excellent portability is not without problems. It also means that you may not be traceable in the event of an emergency.

2. Technical Issues to Overcome

These technical problems can be addressed, so you are not hopelessly stuck with a VoIP service that prevents you from making the calls you need to, including emergency phone calls.

If you plan to use VoIP service, however, these issues are worth considering and you do need to address them so you do not encounter problems later on. In the event of an emergency, you want to be absolutely sure that you can access the help you really need.


Traditional landline phones usually supply their own electricity, which is great because in the event of a power outage you can still use the phone. The landline connection itself brings electricity into your phone, keeping it working even when everything else loses power. Unfortunately for VoIP users, Internet connections do not supply their own power and other types of phones that do not use traditional landlines also need power supplies from somewhere. If an emergency occurs and power is disconnected, these VoIP phones stop working.

If you are concerned about the possibility of a power outage, it is important to have a source of backup electricity or a plan for how to keep your phone services working. You may need to switch your VoIP calls to a smartphone temporarily and rely on your cellphone’s battery for a while. You may need an onsite generator, or use some other means to keep everything running. If you encounter a need to make emergency phone calls during an outage, having another means of powering your phone is important.

Location Issues

VoIP is portable, so there is no fixed physical address for a VoIP connection. Using VoIP to call for emergency help may not give emergency responders a correct address to reach with help. As such, you would need to provide an accurate address to your VoIP provider so they can reach you in the event of an emergency. Since locations can change while you use your VoIP account, you or an administrator would need to keep this updated properly.

Keeping the location correct is one reason why vendors do not typically guarantee that emergency phone call services will work properly with their phone plans. Even if you provide a correct address for first responders, this does not necessarily guarantee or promise that you will have access to properly-routed emergency address service.

Internet Outages

Even the most reliable Internet service may occasionally have problems or connectivity issues. In the event of an Internet outage, your VoIP vendor cannot be held responsible for your ability to make emergency phone calls. Keep in mind that reliable Internet service is important to keep your VoIP service working properly and you should try to find the best possible Internet service for your VoIP connection. Connection speed, latency and other factors can influence the quality of your VoIP phone calls, so a bad Internet connection may make emergency phone calls difficult or even impossible in some circumstances.

3. How to Make Emergency Calls

To make emergency phone calls as reliable as possible with your VoIP connection, you will need to overcome the technical issues with VoIP and keep your address regularly updated and accurate. Do not allow your account to show an incorrect physical address, or you may eventually need to place an emergency call and encounter problems.

Strategies to Remedy Problems with Emergency Phone Calls on VoIP:

  • Power—Keep a generator on-hand, whether or not you anticipate electricity problems. Having other types of phones that have batteries can also provide temporary backup, as can moving to another location for your calls. Keep in mind that any changes in location should be updated, and if you do not have time to do so, you may need to keep a cellphone with traditional celltower service on-hand for emergency calls or other issues.
  • Location—Update your location information often. When you move to a new office or travel away from your usual place of business, provide an address update if you can. While traveling may make it difficult to properly document your address, even having a city name or hotel address listed may be better than nothing. Administrators for the company VoIP system can also go in online and change location information for the VoIP number, if a user forgets to update it.
  • Internet—Having a backup connection may be necessary if you experience a lot of reliability problems. Before subscribing for a new Internet connection, ask about reliability and downtime. Find out what to do in the event of a connection loss and learn how these problems should be officially reported.

If you are still concerned about potential issues, having a backup plan or another phone service for emergencies may be practical. Your company should have plans for how to act in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, regardless of whether you use VoIP or not. As always, be sure to do your own due diligence to find out the best option for your organization and your own needs.

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