Burning down the house: Slashdotters debate if Vonage's slow E911 response hurt

 On Slashdot, 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.

 

housefire.jpg

On Slashdot, 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."

The Vonage Forum post received an astounding 20,000 page views in the first 17 hours after it went up. 

Yes, but the circumstances described in this post isn't all that meets the eye.

Another Slashdot member who calls himself Marxist Hacker 42 corrects kamikaze-Tech's assumptions- both about the original post and what happened to Mr. Veltkamp.

"If the poster had read a bit further, he would have found out This isn't a new story," writes Marxist Hacker 42, linking to an older Vonage Forum post about the same issue. 

What's more, Marxist Hacker concludes that the victim was responsible for part of the problem that persisted after emergency responders arrived. 

"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," Marxist Hacker writes.

Maybe Mr. Veltkamp did not react in an efficient manner, but not everyone is well-equipped to think at their best when their house is burning down.

As to Vonage putting the guy on hold, that points to the fact that although Vonage has E911 in some 70 percent of U.S. counties, (less when this fire occured) they are not there yet. Until they do - and also figure out automatic nomadic location detection so that the right E911 services are called, I'd keep a cell around. Just in case.

As a matter of fact, I do. I may or may not be "happy to see you," but actually that bulge in my pants pocket is my BlackBerry cell phone.
 

 

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