Thinking Ahead: How to make sure your home VoIP phone system is properly setup for emergency situations

0 Comments 14 January 2015

We have lots of great associations with the cold holiday season: snuggling up near the fireplace and space heater in your footy pjs, dad deep frying the turkey, and the children lighting the Christmas tree.

But according to the California State Firefighters Association, however, the winter months are the most common time for house fires, which are most often linked to heaters and fireplaces, deep fryers, and oh, Christmas trees, too. In the case of a house or even office fire, if you have VoIP phone service, you’ll want to ensure that your calls will go through and that you have emergencing calling access.

Along with house fires, the frigid winter often brings snow, ice, and wind, all of which could lead to a power outage. In case of a power outage, regardless of your type of phone service, traditional or VoIP, you could lose the ability to make and receive phone calls if you haven’t properly prepared.

If you currently use either business or residential VoIP services, you probably already understand that this special kind of phone service relies on the Internet. With a VoIP provider, your voice data travels over the Internet rather than a traditional phone. Because of this, if a tree knocks down a telephone wire during a storm, your VoIP phone service won’t be affected unless you rely on phone lines for Internet service. However, if this storm brings down an electrical wire, your VoIP service could be in jeopardy.

It’s important to know that you are prepared for accidents before they happen. Cheapest VoIP Calls has outlined a few tips to prepare you for maintaining phone service and 911 access to help you weather through whatever storm you may face.

E911

If Dad’s deep frying turkey experiment goes awry, you may need to call the fire department. However, unlike with traditional phone services, when you call 911 with your VoIP phone, a 911 agent won’t be able to automatically trace the location of your call.

Therefore, one of the most important steps in preparing for an emergency with your VoIP system is to register your permanent address to the service provider. This address you register with your VoIP service will automatically be sent to the public safety answering point when you dial 911. And remember, if you move or travel and you bring your VoIP service with you, you have to update your address on file, or emergency operators will trace the call to your old address.

It’s also important to remember that VoIP E911 phone calling will only work if your location has power and Internet connection. So, it’s important to have a…

Back-up Power System
In the event of a power outage, your home or office will lose Internet connection, and as a result, your VoIP phone will be out of service, including those E911 phones we mentioned above. Purchasing a back up power system is one way in which you can prepare for power loss and ensure temporary VoIP phone service.

A UPS, or uninterrupted power supply, is one backup power solution. A UPS is basically a large battery that plugs into a power socket, and when power is lost, the system runs on battery power. This battery power gives juice to your VoIP phone allowing you to make and receive phone calls.

The UPS acts as a rechargeable battery and kicks in power to your system, providing anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours of power. Prices for a UPS range depending on how long you want your power supply to last. A relatively low-powered 300-750 watt UPS may cost between $50 and $150, while a higher powered one would appropriately cost more.

If you anticipate being without power for a while, or if you are managing a phone system for a business, you may also want to consider a backup generator. This is a good way to ensure that you have power for a longer period of time in case a massive storm like Sandy hits again.

Call Forwarding
In preparing your VoIP system for a disaster, it’s worth contacting your VoIP service and requesting that in the event of a power outage, your VoIP phone calls are forwarded to either your cell phone or perhaps another location.

This is a beneficial in two ways. If your friends and family are calling to check in on you during the disaster, you can receive their calls on your mobile device or another phone (for example, a hotel phone if you were like many people who stayed in out-of-state hotels during Sandy). As for a business, having your office calls forwarded to another business branch allows for business to continue despite the disruption.

The holiday season is a time for experimenting with deep fried turkey, cozying up at the fireplace, and opening presents around the Christmas tree, but now it’s also the time to plan ahead for any potential disasters that may result in power loss or emergency phone calls.

Regardless of whether you’re protecting your home or your business, understanding the limitations of your VoIP service and creating a disaster plan to overcome them, will ensure a quick and easy recovery this winter.

This post was written by Chloe Mulliner. She is a Virginia native who recently moved to California, where she works as a telecom expert and writer for Cheapest VoIP Calls. She earned her Media Arts and Design degree from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Originally posted 2012-12-14 11:48:16.

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