How 911 Is Dealing With Misrouted Emergency Calls

In an emergency situation, every second counts. That’s why it’s so important that 911 calls are routed to the appropriate emergency response center as quickly and accurately as possible. Unfortunately, misrouted 911 calls can lead to delays in response time, loss of critical information, and even tragic consequences. In this article, we’ll explore the problem of misrouted 911 calls, the steps being taken to address this issue, and what the future holds for emergency call routing.


The Problem of Misrouted 911 Calls

Misrouted 911 calls can occur for several reasons. One of the most common causes is issues with phone carriers. When a caller dials 911 from a landline, their call should be automatically routed to the nearest emergency response center. However, if there is a problem with the phone carrier’s system, the call may be sent to the wrong center or not routed at all.

Outdated technology can also be a factor in misrouted 911 calls. Many older 911 systems need to be equipped to handle calls from cell phones or accurately determine the caller’s location. This can lead to calls being routed to the wrong center or to a center that is too far away to provide timely assistance.

The consequences of misrouted 911 calls can be severe. Delays in response time can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. Additionally, suppose a call is routed to the wrong center. In that case, critical information about the nature of the emergency and the caller’s location may need to be recovered, making it more difficult for responders to provide the necessary assistance.

Steps Being Taken to Address Misrouted Calls

911 centers are working to modernize their systems and improve call routing. Many are transitioning to Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems, which use internet protocol (IP) technology to handle calls and text messages, as well as advanced location tracking to determine the caller’s location. This allows for more accurate and efficient routing of calls, as well as the ability to handle an increased volume of calls and to transfer calls seamlessly between different jurisdictions.

Phone carriers also have a role to play in preventing misrouted 911 calls. They are working to improve the accuracy of their systems and to ensure that calls are routed to the appropriate emergency response center.

In addition to these efforts, there have been several legislative and regulatory efforts to address the issue of misrouted 911 calls. The Kari’s Law Act of 2017 and the Ray Baum’s Act of 2018, for example, require phone carriers to provide more accurate location information for 911 calls and to ensure that calls can be made to 911 from multi-line telephone systems (such as those commonly found in hotels and office buildings).

The Future of 911 Call Routing

As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for improving 911 call routing are exciting. New technologies, such as advanced location tracking and the use of artificial intelligence, have the potential to make emergency call routing even more accurate and efficient.

There is also the possibility of a nationwide emergency response system that would allow for seamless transfer of calls between different jurisdictions. This would ensure that calls are routed to the appropriate center no matter where the caller is located.


Misrouted 911 calls can have serious consequences, but there are steps being taken to address this issue. 911 centers are modernizing their systems, and phone carriers are working to improve their call routing accuracy. Additionally, legislation and regulations have been put in place to ensure that calls are properly routed to the appropriate emergency response center. As technology advances, we can look forward to even more improvements in emergency call routing, helping to ensure that every second counts in an emergency situation.

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