Sorenson VRS now provides 911 service

March 7, 2007

SorensonVRS logo Sorenson VRS can now connect you to your local 911 emergency call center.

I don’t know why I haven’t heard of this elsewhere. This is big. That means I can finally get rid of my phone service! My TTY hasn’t been dusted off / connected in years, anyway.

The Sorenson webpage explains that if you put just “911” in the phone number field in your videophone and call Sorenson VRS, your call will be put at the top of the queue. And Sorenson, in conjunction with Intrado, another company,Intrado logo will find where you are videophoning from and connect Sorenson and you to the correct emergency provider.

It is left unsaid how they determine where you are calling from, but I suspect this has to do with your IP number. (A check of Intrado’s home page confirms this.) As I explained in a recent post, you can find out your IP number via (again, not a misspelling — there’s only one “d” in – and even see a map pinpointing your location within a couple of miles. When you call Sorenson, they can also see your IP number – and that is how they can determine your location and figure out which local emergency call center to contact.

I wonder if any of the other VRS providers provide 911 service as well. I’ll check.  [3/10/07 update: nope, only Sorenson.]

Again, folks, this is big news. Thanks, Sorenson. Whatever’s happening elsewhere, being able to connect to my local 911 provider via VRS counts much.


17 Responses to “Sorenson VRS now provides 911 service”

  1. […] feature: You can use Sorenson VRS to call 911!  See my recent post on […]

  2. hey – while this is great news, i’m asking you to keep your tty. 1) in case vp doesnt work and u need to call in case of emergency.
    2) if you have a friend with usher’s or is blind, and they cannot use vp to call you… or even have special braille computers to email you… and they have an ultratec braille tty but you’ve thrown away yours. how will you be able to connect with them?
    keep your tty somewhere in the house, not the trash.
    my 2 cents,

  3. DENNIS Says:

    Sound great. you can close the regular phone account if you don’t have DSL. BUT you better leave your tty on line because the line is alive for only 911, did you know?


  4. Rox Says:

    Most VRS providers will provide 911 service to the best of their abilities, but they do not advertise it. The FCC discourages VRS centers to process 911 calls.

    Also, if the power goes out in your home during an emergency, your VP will not work, but your phone will (and your TTY, if it is charged up).

  5. J.J. Puorro Says:

    This is good news.

    I threw away my TDD a long time ago.

    I always told myself that if I were in an emergency I’d just run next door screaming and bang onto my neighbor’s door frantically….

    Trust me…they would call the cops in less than 10 seconds for sure. :-)

  6. Jared Evans Says:

    Getting the geolocation of an IP address is a crapshoot. I wouldn’t put much stock in the accuracy of this new 911 feature.

  7. matt Says:

    i still say that is impressive

    do hope that accuracy level will improve-

  8. Larry Littleton Says:

    I just did a test to check. Typed in and the locator indicated my position as about 78 miles FROM where I am actually located! My ISP is on Oahu, and I am on Kauai. (that’s an OCEAN apart!)

    As Jared said, ‘it is a crapshot.”

    I would NOT suggest tossin’ out the TTY yet!

  9. Lantana Says:

    I have never had a problem with dialing 911 from my tty and getting results. And I live in a tiny resort town! I have had too many problems with my VP 200, I do not quite trust it yet and ahem, 78 miles is a long ways for an ambulance (or a cop) to travel!

    Crapshoot? I guess so!!

  10. Barb DiGi Says:

    Actually I got rid of my TTY last summer after asking them to 911 and they did! Tried it again later on no problem. Interesting that you made a point that they don’t advertise it. I wonder why not?

    By the way, these calls I made were not life-threatening.

  11. Deaf Watchdog Says: is intriguing but it did not indicate my correct whereabout. I live on the other side of Hudson River and it shows my whereabout on the wrong side of Hudson River.

    This kind of technology still needs to be working on it. Close but no cigar.

  12. Scooby Says:

    Oh boy! Here we go again. Let’s pray that they will get help in time if we often wait an average 2 minute before we reach a video interpeter.

  13. rob koch Says:

    I suspect intrado has a better proprietary solution than a freebie locator. How else would companies make money?

    Always remember, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

  14. […] locate a phone number that hearing callers could use. Note: Sorenson Video Relay Service’s new 911 feature does not work […]

  15. Dianrez Says:

    I think the question of “will a disconnected phone line still be able to call 911?” needs to be definitely settled for all of us first before we give up our land line phones.

    I called the phone company and could not get a firm answer either way. I would be hesitant to try calling 911 in the absence of an emergency in order to test this, but it may be necessary if the phone company is not willing to give up that information for fear of losing business.

    Can other readers give definite information? For example, citing a FCC regulation to that effect?

  16. […] previously blogged about Sorenson providing 9-1-1 services a year ago. Good to see another VRS provider getting into […]

  17. […] to 9-1-1 just by dialing “911″ on their Ojo videophones.  Sorenson began doing that last year, and Viable just yesterday.  Good move, SnapVRS, even if it’s being mandated by […]

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