Common Questions Regarding Emergency 911 Calls from an Iridium Satellite Phone
IMPORTANT NOTE: Emergency 911 can be called from within the United States, which is defined by the FCC as the main fifty continental states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Customers in Canada will have to obtain their own emergency numbers before proceeding outside of cell coverage.
If I dial 911 from outside the territory, will my emergency 911 call even go through?
– Unfortunately, the call will terminate to a message instructing you to hang-up and dial an emergency provider or your service provider. If you need Apollo SatCom’s contact information to do this you can find it here: Apollo SatCom Contact.
For it to be working properly does emergency 911 need to be provisioned by my service provider?
– This will not be an issue as Iridium ensures that this service is available to all of their subscribers. So, no matter who your provider is (as long as they are an Iridium provider) you will have this available at your disposal.
Do you need a SIM card to access emergency 911?
– Satellite service providers are not required by the FCC to provide access to services without an active SIM; so, the answer is no. In short, without an active SIM your handset will not be able to access any services up to and including emergency 911 unfortunately.
I’m confused about the emergency 911 service as far as it being used on a satellite network; how does it actually work?
– Here is the step-by-step process from customer’s end to the emergency call centers:
1. Customer calls 911 from their Iridium device.
2. The Intrado emergency 911 call center then takes over the call.
3. The call is answered and the customer is asked the nature of the emergency, their name, callback number, and location.
Note: Trained professionals answer these calls so you do not have to worry about getting someone that does not know what is going on.
4. The most appropriate PSAP is identified by the operator and they contact them as well, relay any relevant information, and then they transfer the customer to them so they can communicate directly. If the customer is not fluent in English then the emergency 911 center has resources available to them for translation.
How are the emergency 911 services accessed by Iridium subscribers?
– Here are the steps to calling 911 from your Iridium device:
1. Power on your Iridium device
2. Rotate the antenna (if applicable)
3. Dial 911 and press ok
NOTE: With a prepaid or crew calling SIM you sill dial 911 so do not make the mistake of dialing any leading information in the number (just simply dial 911)
What if I hang up accidentally or I get involuntarily disconnected like my call drops or something or the sort?
– Unfortunately, if the call is lost for whatever reason before you were able to provide your MSISDN or location the call center will not be able to call back or even relay your location to emergency personnel. On the other hand, if you were able to provide at least your location they will contact the PSAP and relay all relevant information. If your MSISDN was able to be given before being cut off the emergency center will make up to three tries to call you back. Even if they are unable to reach you when calling back they will still contact PSAP with your information. Since this is obviously a huge issue in an emergency situation the very first thing they will ask for is your location and callback number.
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