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Vonage Puts VoIP 911 Caller on Hold

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-too-good dept.

464

kamikaze-Tech writes "It is being reported on the Vonage Forums that last month when Loren Veltkamp's Chanhassen, Minnesota home caught on fire, he immediately called 9-1-1 using Vonage. Unfortunately, Vonage put him on hold, causing a delay in the response from emergency workers. By the time fire crews arrived, the fire had become a five-alarm blaze. The house was a total loss."

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Dupe "Article" (5, Informative)

TheComputerMutt.ca (907022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984400)

This "article" is a duplicate thread on the Vonage Forum. The original thread [vonage-forum.com] has much more information.

Re:Dupe "Article" (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984449)

If the poster had read a bit further, he would have found out This isn't a new story [vonage-forum.com] (same link as parent, but I had written this in notepad while wating for the story to come out of the mysterious future) AND the guy involved was a bit of an idiot who wouldn't know a five alarm fire from a small fire he could rescue a computer from. He probably caused more delay in the attempt to rescue his house by leading the police on a chase from front door, through kitchen, to basement and out a window than the delay caused by Vonage National 911 putting him on hold.

Anybody who only has Vonage without some form of backup line (either a bare bones land line or a cell phone) is a bit of a moron anyway- what would he have done if a candle lit the drapes on fire during a power outage?

Re:Dupe "Article" (2, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984515)

I agree. I use only cell phones for day to day calling, but I still have a basic land line hooked up, and a cheap $10 phone that doesn't require power in the closet in case of emergencies. I've had plenty of times during storms where the power went out and the phone lines still worked.

Re:Dupe "Article" (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984542)

Actually, it is common for someone to be in a fire, and underestimate the danger becasue some of the chemicals in the air make it so you can not smell the smoke.

When my mothers house caught on fire, She was sure she was fine to go back in, went in to get her keys so she could moce her car, coming back out they dragged her away. SHe kept saying it wasn't a big deal.

They dashboard in her car was melting.

My mother is not a moron. SHe's gt problems, but she is smart.
My point is, don't judge this guy based on this incident, many people feel they are 'safe enough' in a fire, when they are not.

Re:Dupe "Article" (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984631)

My point was that a true five-alarmer would generate so much excess heat that NOBODY would have been able to enter the house. Let alone TWICE (first to get his computer, second to lead the police on a stupid chase). There's something that stinks about this story- and being put on hold by "Vonage" is the least of it.

Re:Dupe "Article" (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984646)

My point was people don't relize how much danger they are in.
Yes, something does stink, but I don't know what the criteria is for 5 alarm fire in his city, so I can't be sure.

Re:Dupe "Article" (4, Funny)

HardCase (14757) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984459)

Both look about the same to me:

A communication error occurred: "Operation timed out"
The Web Server may be down, too busy, or experiencing other problems preventing it from responding to requests. You may wish to try again at a later time.

Re:Dupe "Article" (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984490)

Slashdoted already? That was quick.

Re:Dupe "Article" (1)

Bushcat (615449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984467)

Not only does the original thread (http://www.vonage-forum.com/ftopic11631.html [vonage-forum.com] ) have more information, as you say, but the originator later makes the telling comment "Got the story off of a news channel 5 website....So they can make things out to be a little more dramatic than it actually is...."

On the one hand the house "burnt down", on the other hand the owner could wander around it rescuing his computer, etc.

Nothing to see here (5, Informative)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984401)

This is no different than the 911 service on PSTN (regular phone service).

I've been put on hold at least 50-60% of the time I've called.

They're understaffed.

Re:Nothing to see here (4, Funny)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984412)

And how many times did you call? 2 times and you where put on hold 50%-60%?

Or did you make enough calls to 911 to make it statiscly relevant? If so you where put on hold while they send out the police to arrest you!

statistical (1)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984427)

Oh my god I cant write anymore. I must call someone ;-)

Re:statistical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984663)

Please hold.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984419)

I've been put on hold at least 50-60% of the time I've called.

How many times have you had to call 911??!!

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984425)

Er...how often do you call 911 to get these statistics?

911 != 411.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

pjellis (312404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984442)

If Vonage 911 is anything like the standard phone service 911 then its a combination of not enough staff and an extremely high volume of non-emergency calls.

If I remember correctly, the percent of calls to 911 that are actual emergency calls is below 5%.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984579)

Do you know how they defined emergency?

For example, is calling to report that the fire alarm is going off in a university building, which turns out to be a faulty alarm, an emergency because it requires an immediate response, or a non-emergency because it wasn't actually a fire, and the alarm system had auto-reported it anyway?

Same question for something being reported more than once - for example, a nearby house caught fire recently, and we called to report it, to find out that (not unsuprisingly, given the size of the fire when we spotted it), that several other people had called already?

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

Phurd Phlegm (241627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984482)

I've been put on hold at least 50-60% of the time I've called.
Were you first asked "is this an emergency?" That used to be the standard when I was involved in fielding emergency calls. If you said "yes," then you weren't put on hold.

A large number of calls to the usual 911 call center are probably non-emergency (barking dogs, illegal parking, etc.).

If the answer is "hell, no," then what area are you calling from? I call 911 a few times a year (usually to report a stalled car on the freeway) and I've never been put on hold.

Re:Nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984506)

you call 911 for a STALLED CAR?
What next, calling 911 becasue they won't give tyou the burger you want at the drive through?

call the desk sergant.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984554)

If it's in a lane on a freeway, that's the proper action, it could very easily turn into an emergency

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

sirket (60694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984598)

Perhaps you missed the news about the minivan on the NY Thruway which was smashed to little pieces after stopping in the right lane of traffic. 4 people were killed and 2 critically injured after they were rear-ended by a tractor trailer traveling at 65 MPH.

Now perhaps you would like to reconsider your asinine comment.

-sirket

Re:Nothing to see here (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984512)

Were you first asked "is this an emergency?" That used to be the standard when I was involved in fielding emergency calls. If you said "yes," then you weren't put on hold.

I had to call a couple of weeks ago about a suspected (and thankfully non-existant) chimney fire (turned out to be a piece of newspaper went up the flue and got caught in the spark trap at the top of the chimney- made for a nice bit of harmless fireworks spotted by a passing car, who notified me). I was put on hold without anybody asking anything- by the time I was off hold, they sent out the fire department anyway though I said the flames were out...

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984593)

This is no different than the 911 service on PSTN (regular phone service).

I have never been put on hold by 911 and this is a number I have had to dial more often than I care to think about. Chronic illness in the family. Fire and accidents.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984615)

Understaffed? oh you dont even know the half of it. I was on a dept up in VT and the dispatching agency that also handled our 911 calls staffed one dispatcher per shift. They handled 18 different agencies, and answered 911 calls for 8 towns.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984624)

Of course you were put on hold - you dialed 911. The real number is 912 - every Stonecutter knows that!

happens all the time in LA (1)

climbon321 (874929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984661)

I've had the exact same experiance. Try calling 911 to report an accident while it's raining in Los Angeles (the stories about people not being able to drive in the rain and an understatement) Last time I tried I got a busy signal, call again and hung up after being on hold for 5 minutes. Seems like a little FUD to me.

Why VoIP? (4, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984402)

Was this his only phone?
Any reason he didn't have access to another phone?
Traditionally you exit your burning house ASAP and call from a house next door...
-nB

Re:Why VoIP? (1)

Donut2099 (153459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984484)

Duh! If you read the article, you would see that his other phone was on fire.

Re:Why VoIP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984500)

Duh! If you read the article, you would see that his other phone was on fire.

I tried to read the article, but Vonage put me on hold (slashdotted).

Re:Why VoIP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984505)

Traditionally you exit your burning house ASAP and call from a house next door...

Depends on how close "next door" actually is...

Re:Why VoIP? (2, Informative)

Phurd Phlegm (241627) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984523)

Was this his only phone?

Any reason he didn't have access to another phone?

Traditionally you exit your burning house ASAP and call from a house next door...

Here's the local TV station's report [kstp.com] . They don't say so, but I assume that his only phone service was VOIP. As for running next door, I assume he figured it would be quicker to report if he played the percentages and didn't hang up to try again. According to the report, he was arrested for repeatedly reentering the house to save his computers.

Re:Why VoIP? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984538)

"According to the report, he was arrested for repeatedly reentering the house to save his computers"

And thus the cop should be shot for preventing a darwin award winner.
-nB

Re:Why VoIP? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984697)

IT's not uncommon for people to do that. Even smart rational people have been know the think they still have time.

Re:Why VoIP? (1)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984683)

According to the report, he was arrested for repeatedly reentering the house to save his computers.
Ahh... A true geek.

Re:Why VoIP? (5, Informative)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984548)

Irrelevant. FCC regulations require service providers to connect any 911 emergency calls. That's why you can [supposedly] connect a phone to a jack with no service and dial 911, or use a cell phone that has no account and dial 911. It is Vonage's responsibility to see that this happens each time every time. There is no burden on the consumer for this one. If Vonage doesn't like it, they can choose not to be in the telcom business in the US.

Now, some of the reports I've read do say that Vonage connected him, but that the operators put him on hold. In that case, Vonage is not to blame as they met the requirments of law.

Re:Why VoIP? (1)

teasea (11940) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984639)

So it's important to make sure your neighbor has a top line service.

It's all shits and giggles, folks.

Re:Why VoIP? (5, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984656)

Traditionally you exit your burning house ASAP and call from a house next door...

"Next door" to my father's place is the farmhouse a mile down the road. "Next door" assumes you are in a condition to walk or drive. That your judgement is not impaired.

I have vivid memories still of my one and only experience with carbon monoxide poisoning.

that's just sad (1)

gforce811 (903907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984405)

Is he entitled to a lawsuit or do you guys think their 911 disclaimer is enough to stop any charges?

No lawsuit required! (4, Funny)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984565)

They're giving him $20 credit and 7% off all his future 911 calls.

Re:that's just sad (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984691)

I can't even get through to read the story. From the headlines, it seems like they might have been negligent, or they might not have. Just knowing that he was "put on hold" doesn't really tell you anything.

Anyway, disclaimers don't really mean that much if the employee handling the phone call wasn't following procedure.

Amazing (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984406)


They claim to be associating establishing a physical location with each E911, at so many counties per week. Yet someone on the blog points out in Ohio they're moving at a snail's pace and only in 4 rural counties. Sounds like my office, let's process ~1,500 applications, which average about 30 minutes each, by one person, who is being phased out due to lack of work. It done be amazing.

"please click on 1 if you have just seen bigfoot, click on 2 if a wolf has lept through your living room window, click 3 if you believe CowboyNeal is lurking under your bed, click 4 if you laughed so hard at the last South Park that you are choking on a cheezy poof, click 5 if you are so offended by the last South Park you are choking on a cheezy poof, click 6 if you think The Lakers is a stupid name for a team that moved from Minnesota to Los Angeles where there are no lakes, click 7 if your house is on fire and your children have flown, click 8 if you are suffering a medical emergency, click 9 if you are "dying zerelda, dying zerelda, die, die, die, die, die, die!!!" or stay on the line and listen to some light jazz until your connection is mysteriously dropped."

Re:Amazing (2, Funny)

evil agent (918566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984493)

*click*

"You have selected regicide. If you know the king or queen being murdered, press 1."

The answer is clear (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984407)


sue the bastards for a new home
perhaps if people dented vonage's pocket books and so they had to cut back on lear jets and coke parties they wouldnt do it again

If you wanna rag on vonage (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984420)

Look at other VoIP providers... like these losers [cia.com] . Their shit is down 50% of the time and if you try to call tech support you wait on hold for 85 minutes only to speak to some retard.

happens on POTS as well (4, Interesting)

Splork (13498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984426)

try calling 911 on a POTS line or cell phone in any major city and see for yourself.

Re:happens on POTS as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984448)

You're right! They put me on hold and my house burned!

...

(If only girls were that easy)

Re:happens on POTS as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984556)

heheh, sucker!

Re:happens on POTS as well (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984486)

I've only had to call 911 three times in my life, I've never gotten put on hold.

Vonage (1)

robpoe (578975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984429)

I'm a Vonage customer and couldn't be more happy.

I've never experienced a loss or major call quality, even when my ISP hits 250-350ms ping (as they sometimes do!).

Though, I've never call 911 from it .. and I think I'd use my cell for that...

Re:Vonage (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984627)

I'm a Vonage customer and couldn't be more happy.

I've never experienced a loss or major call quality, even when my ISP hits 250-350ms ping (as they sometimes do!).

Though, I've never call 911 from it, blah, blah, blah


My god, you're an idiot.

Re:Vonage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984652)

So, you posted that A.C. ?

on hold (5, Funny)

gnuguru (301000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984433)

Tried to follow the link in the story, but the server put me on hold....

fuck you (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984441)

MUGU KEEP OFF!

Next at 6... (4, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984444)

It is being reported on the Vonage Forums that last month when Loren Veltkamp's Chanhassen, Minnesota home caught on fire, he immediately called 9-1-1 using Vonage. Unfortunately, Vonage put him on hold,

Next at 6: Slashdot links to Vonage-forum, forum webserver puts thousands on hold and THEN catches fire.

PS:Houses usually don't "catch" fire, like they're standing around and fire lands on them out of the blue. How'd the guy's house actually catch fire? Why didn't he have an extinguisher? Why didn't he hang up the phone and DIAL AGAIN?

PPS:The above is half serious and half spoofing the typical "apologist" line.

Re:Next at 6... (1)

udayb (754782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984657)

Sitting on a nice cushioned chair and asking these questions is easy; try thinking about it when your house is on fire.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984456)

What I want to know is, Why was he still in the house if it's on fire?

RTFA - He was on "hold"... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984679)

He was in the house because he was on hold. It said so, right in the summary.

*Vonage* put him on hold? (1)

fatboy (6851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984457)

I have had Vonage for well over a year, but have never dialed 911.

It is my understanding you are routed to your local PSAP.

Re:*Vonage* put him on hold? (1)

fatboy (6851) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984537)

I just dialed 911 to verify it is working correctly. It connected directly to my local PSAP and they had all of the correct information about my address.

No on hold with Vonage for me.

not suprising. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984476)

I live about 6 minutes away from chanhassen, and the last time I called 911 I was put on hold. I called from a cell phone not voip so I'm geussing its just the local emergency services fault.

You know their stupid commercials... (5, Funny)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984494)

...with that annoying music they play, showing people doing stupid things. And then they say, "People do stupid things..."

I think their new commercial should show a guy getting Vonage and then his house burns down, and then they say, "People do stupid things. Going with Vonage is one of them."

Re:You know their stupid commercials... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984555)

Depending on your DSL/Cable connection for emergency service is pretty stupid, IMHO, regardless of how badly Vonage may have screwed up.

Re:You know their stupid commercials... (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984601)

I remember when my cable bill was due one day and I hadn't paid it yet. There wasn't enough time left to mail it in, so I drove to their office to pay in person.

While I waited in line, I noticed that they had a whole wall of televisions set up, each showing a channel they offer, as if to entice you to get cable because these are the channels you'll get. But the picture quality was worse than a fiftieth generation VHS copy as viewed when the television is behind a smoke screen. If that is how bad the picture quality looks at the cable company's own offices, how bad will it look in your home?

And then to depend on such an irresponsible and retarded company for emergency services? I would like to invoke a certain profane word right now.

WISC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984499)

WIKIPEDIA IS COMMUNISM!

Regular 911 service is just as bad, or worse! (3, Interesting)

qwave54 (671614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984508)

I had to call 911 a few times in the past few years, and every single time I've had nothing but trouble from them. One time when I witnessed a car accident and stayed to help, I called 911 because a woman at the scene had trouble getting out of her car (the door wouldn't open and her legs were pinned). The 911 operator *wouldn't believe* that she needed help and refused to send more than one police car. Luckily he came quickly and called for the proper help. Another time I had to call, I was transfered to the wrong emergency service. I needed the police, but was sent to the fire dept. While the fire operator was talking, the 911 operator interrupted the call and transfered me to the EMS! Again, interrupted and finally I got the police. Other times I've had operators who were rude and unhelpful.
So Vonage's 911 seems to be at par with the poor level of service given by the other 911 services.

Re:Regular 911 service is just as bad, or worse! (3, Funny)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984573)

I have had a similar experience. Once I called 911 because I had lost my TV Guide and I needed to know when Seinfeld was on. They were totally rude and unhelpful.

Re:Regular 911 service is just as bad, or worse! (2, Informative)

lamp540 (644770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984574)

This last new years day I observed a man breaking into cars in a parking lot, I called the police to tell them and when they asked me for my address and all I could provide was the neareast intersection(I slept over at someone's apartment) they told me to find out the address and then call them back.

Re:Regular 911 service is just as bad, or worse! (2, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984613)

Easy solution. Just say "dang... I was hoping to not have to shoot another one of those damn thiefs. But ya gotta do what you gotta do". Then hang up. You will have eight squad cars in ten minutes.

And hopefully one of the cops will be trigger happy enough to fill the dude with lead.

Re:Regular 911 service is just as bad, or worse! (3, Funny)

jmnormand (941909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984612)

in related news, national 911 services are now being routed to an call center in india...

Re:Regular 911 service is just as bad, or worse! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984660)

Odd.
WHen I have called 911, I talked to the same person regardless of the type of incident. They sent the proper people.

I ahve probably called 911 50 times since it's inception, in several different states. Never ahd a problem at all.

Who needs 911? (0, Flamebait)

abscissa (136568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984514)

As someone who never thought he would need to dial 911, let me tell you that one day, when you find yourself or a loved one in a life or death situation, you will regret saving $12.00 a month on long distance for the past few years...

Now that all the phones in our house are VOIP, we no longer have access to 911 services. Unfortunately this was not my choice. As for anyone who is considering moving to completely VOIP, wouldn't you pay $12.00 a month extra to be able to access emergency services??

Re:Who needs 911? (4, Informative)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984544)

You can usually do both- just call your local phoneco and ask for a emergency-only line that only dials 911 and 0. Also known as Basic Dial Tone Service, it will cost you someplace between $0-$12/month, depending on whether or not they force you to get local dialing with it or not, and what taxes apply. Don't forget to plug in an old fashioned WIRED phone to the line, so that you have service in case of a power outage as well.

Re:Who needs 911? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984561)

It used to be that in california you were chared 2.30 dollars for a line that you could only dial 911, and the phone company.

So you might want to look into that.

Re:Who needs 911? (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984583)

I'm sure you can get a cell phone and keep the batteries charged for less than $12/month.

Re:Who needs 911? (3, Informative)

HappyDrgn (142428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984585)

Plug a phone into your wall outlet, or if you have a spare disconnected cell phone, keep it charged and make sure your family knows where it is. 911 service works on any phone line in the U.S. even if the service is not activated. We have Vonage, but we also have a backup phone plugged into the wall. The Internet is something I would want to rely on in an emergency.

Re:Who needs 911? (1)

Mr Pippin (659094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984586)

1. Having a choice in the matter helps. I despise the service being government mandated by the FCC on my behalf.

2. Who says you don't have access to emergency services? You almost certainly have a phone with autodial abilities. Have one for the fire department, police, and medical. This was how life was BEFORE 911. We didn't have civilization on the brink of chaos before 911 services. One usefull implementation of 911 applies to cell phones, and I'm wary of that, too.

Nope. (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984637)

wouldn't you pay $12.00 a month extra to be able to access emergency services??

Not hardly worth $12/month. Maybe $1/month, tops.

A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984530)

Five Alarm?

Just how big was his house? The Santana Row fire in San Jose was a five alarm fire and that was huge.
Methinks there's a wee bit of exaggeration going on here.

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

tehfenx0r (963219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984545)

Eh probably, but there are some huge ass houses there.

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984563)

Still. They're going to call for reinforcements 4 more times?

I think they just decide to let the thing burn to the ground and make sure it doesn't spread.

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

tehfenx0r (963219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984608)

Yeah that is kinda strange...did the house next door catch on fire too or something?

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984614)

" Still. They're going to call for reinforcements 4 more times?"

% alarms doesn't always mean that. It depends on the city/county/town.

IT always means 'really bad'

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984566)

Especially since he was able to go back to rescue his computer full of pirated music....

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984589)

it depends on the department.
A fice alrm fire in Manhatten may be a bigger fire, then a five alarm fire in a smaller city/town.

Some departments that would mean Chief, tanker, ladder, all hands medical and help from another dept.

Some may be an alarm per dept.

The person on site making the calls may escalate to five alarm if they feel there was a high risk of the fire spreading.

That said, I do doubt it was a 5 alarm fire for a stand alone single dwelling unit

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984665)

Some departments that would mean Chief, tanker, ladder, all hands medical and help from another dept.

That's a five-alarm? That's pretty much the standard response for a working fire where I used to live. I thought the number of alarms represented the number of different stations. (In which case 5 alarms is pretty damn big, though with the fact that the guy kept going back in the building to save his computers maybe they reported possible entrapment).

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (1)

dan828 (753380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984622)

Depends on the town. The number of alarms is the number of substations that respond-- in LA a five alarm fire would be huge. In my town, the entire fire department will show up for a grass fire on the side of the freeway because they usually don't have a lot to do and like to race around with the sirens going when they get a chance.

Re:A Five Alarm Fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984658)

Ever been to Chanhassen Minnesota? A five alarm fire there is when more than one hay bail is involved.

VOIP Users = Second Class Citizens (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984558)

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune (1D, October 12, 2004):

911 calls over Internet often get lower priority; Vonage, AT&T calls don't show data to dispatcher

Steve Alexander; Staff Writer

People who make emergency calls using new Internet telephone service are often second-class citizens, says Fred Fischer, a St. Paul police officer who runs Ramsey County's largest 911 emergency call center.

When the 911 center gets calls from consumers using Internet calling services provided by Vonage or AT&T, the calls don't ring the 911 phone lines that are answered immediately, Fischer said. Instead, they come in on nonemergency lines that get second priority and are crowded with more than twice as many callers.

Worse, Internet emergency calls usually are more difficult to handle because the 911 operator must ask for critical information: Who and where are you? In a normal 911 call, that information automatically appears on the operator's computer screen at the same time the call is answered. But with most Internet calls, the information isn't transmitted at all.

"The benefit of the 911 system is that we know your location in the event that you can't speak to us," Fischer said. "We don't get that with the Internet calls."

Fischer's 911 call center problems are the result of conventional wired phones being displaced by a new technology called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).

VOIP uses a high-speed Internet connection to provide phone service instead of a conventional telephone line. VOIP service, which appeals to consumers because it provides extensive or unlimited local and long-distance calling at discounted prices, converts the voice into digital bits that are transmitted over the public Internet or a private data network. The bits are converted back into a traditional phone signal just before the call reaches its destination.

Not all Internet telephone service suffers from the problems Fischer describes. But 911 officials say Vonage and AT&T's CallVantage service have those difficulties, while Time Warner Cable's new Internet phone service doesn't. Vonage didn't return a phone call seeking comment, while AT&T says it's working on the problem.

"We recognize there are concerns out there, and we will resolve them," said Kerry Hibbs, an AT&T spokesman in Dallas. "We make very clear to our customers that our CallVantage Internet phone service does not work the same as traditional land-line 911." Greater compatibility with 911 will be introduced in some undisclosed parts of the nation this year, he said.

----

So, did Vonage put him on hold because they were giving E911 information over the phone, or did the local PSAP put him on hold? The forum itself is burning, so I can't RTFF.

The sign on the porch.... (1)

svunt (916464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984569)

...of the burnt down house: 0wnage by Vonage :D

Same Problem in LA (2, Informative)

osmodion (716658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984584)

A few weeks ago I was rear ended. The damage to my car was pretty extensive, so one of my passengers called 911 while I talked to the other driver. He was on hold for well over five minutes. When someone finally answered, he handed the phone to me. I talked for about 4 seconds before being cut off by the operator. The nice version is that if no one was bleeding or dead, she was hanging up to deal with more important calls.

The call centers are vastly understaffed, which isn't Vonage's fault, so people get put on hold. End of story.

Disclaimer? (0, Flamebait)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984592)

Doesn't vonage make sure to state that their service is not meant for emergency or 911 calls?

I mean come on, if they tell you "you might not be able to get this to work" then why would you expect it to?

This should surprise no one (911 horror stories) (5, Interesting)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984607)

This should surprise no one. 911 is not anywhere near as reliable as you think it could or should be. A friend of mine nearly cut off this thumb with a chop saw. He ran into the house, called 911, and .... it was busy. Rather than dick around bleeding (drip, drip), he called the one person he knew he could rely on: his office secretary (three cheers for secretaries!) She called the local ambulance service, they picked up, took him to the hospital, and after a little tendon reattachment surgery and months of rehab, he was good as new. No thanks to 911.

Why..? (1)

AWhiteFlame (928642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984616)

Why would you call 911 that your house is burning down over VoIP? While its nice and good, it just doesn't replace a wired or even cell phone. Besides, what if when one was calling 911 and the cable modem was in the process of being melted?

"not-too-good dept"?? (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984625)

Looks more like a candidate for the "huge fucking lawsuit dept".

Try Billion 7402VGP (modem,router,voip box) (1)

ivi (126837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984632)

If he had been using the subj. modem device,
his emergency call might have been put through
to 911 directly, with Vonage out of the picture.

The feature is known as "Lifeline"...

I don't even use 911 (1)

icebergman (963226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984659)

Most cities and towns have emergency lines that connect you directly to your local dispatch center. If you call 911 from a cell phone or VoIP phone, you usually get connected to a central dispatch center that has to relay all the info to your local dispatcher. Even though E911 doesn't work when calling local emergency numbers, it will almost always save several minutes on emergency response times.

oh ho (1)

Kafka_Canada (106443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14984687)

Yeah, but he saved like forty bucks a month in long distance fees.......

E911 isn't the problem. Kill the lawyers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14984704)

As a VoIP installer, and remaining a coward, I can assure you that E911 is an issue but it's also the lobbyist's friend.

Most companies don't care for E911 BUT when MegaLarge POTS hires lobbyists to REQUIRE E911 service they create a delay or diminish the sales of VoIP UNTIL the MegaLarge POTS people can get into the VoIP business.

As with everything it's about money and control. Needless to say the MegaLarge POTS company have more money and power to squish the little startups (by their standards).

We have had to have waivers signed that allowed companies to say "I don't care about E911".

Two side notes about E911 service.

1. I've been put on hold many times and often longer than five minutes. Dispatch is nothing but a call center. Sometimes there is a queue.

2. There is no SLA with "when" the Government is going to get there. In my neighborhood, low-income, I expect a long delay.
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