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E911 location sharing is critical to your safety—and it’s the law

Softphones pose a significant challenge to first responders.

Not maintaining accurate 911 user location information can become a life-threatening barrier to help during an emergency. Precise location information is especially critical for callers unable to verbally communicate where they are or are experiencing medical distress.

To better guide emergency responders to members of the University of Utah community in their time of need, and to comply with federal enhanced 911 (E911) regulations, staff, faculty, and health care workers within or outside of the university must provide location information when dialing 911 on any phone managed by the U. We encourage the university community to take their phone locations seriously and not move a phone’s location themselves. Please submit a web form in the IT Service Catalog (login required) before moving a U desk phone’s physical location.

The growth of hybrid work models has necessitated a dramatic increase in the use of softphones, which are software applications used to make or receive telephone calls over the internet, e.g., Avaya One X Agent and Microsoft Teams. Because they’re integrated into laptops and mobile devices where location isn’t easily defined, however, softphones pose a significant challenge to first responders.

To improve location accuracy, University Information Technology (UIT) will implement tighter controls around user location identification within our phone solutions starting in August 2022.

Targeted emails from UIT to potentially impacted Avaya and Teams users sent on July 22, 2022 included instructions on entering and maintaining location information. Please visit this IT Knowledge Base article for more information. Note: fixed desk phones are already configured to provide location services to emergency responders.

Working together, we can ensure emergency responders have the information they need to provide critical services when and where they are needed.

If you have questions, your local IT support staff may be able to assist, or you may contact the UIT Service Coordinators Team at 801-581-4000, option 2.

Best regards,

Keith Squires
Chief Safety Officer
University of Utah

Steve Hess
Chief Information Officer
University of Utah