Can I Use VoIP To Call Emergency Services?

By Emma Lewis, bOnline

You may be wondering “Can I call the police using VoIP?” or “Is it possible to call the fire brigade on my VoIP phone?”

The answer is technically yes. You can use VoIP to make a 999 call to any of the UK emergency services as long as you’re connected to the internet. So you need to have either a stable 4G or 5G signal, or stable Wifi.

Bear in mind though that emergency calls cannot be made from VoIP devices if you’re not connected to the internet, regardless of the reason (fibre broadband is preferable where possible). The last thing you want is to be cut off half way through your call because the internet has dropped out.


How Do I Call 999 Emergency Services From My VoIP Phone System?


In most cases, you should be able to dial 999 using your VoIP phone, tablet or smartphone just as you would on a landline or mobile. If possible, test emergency calling with your VoIP provider to ensure that it works as expected. Some providers offer a non-emergency test number for this purpose.


Make Your Location Clear Straight Away


When making a 999 call from a landline, and even sometimes from a mobile phone, the operator on the other end can often work out your location even if the call is terminated. But VoIP calls are made entirely over the internet and aren’t tied to a location, which means they’re much more anonymous and can’t be traced in the same way.

The best way forward therefore if you’re using VoIP to contact the emergency services is to clearly state your exact location at the beginning of the call. That way, if you’re cut off or otherwise incapacitated, the operator on the other end knows where you are and can send help. 

Check With Your VoIP Provider


While many VoIP providers support emergency calling, it’s essential to check with your specific one to ensure that emergency calls are supported and that they comply with regulatory requirements. Some VoIP services may need you to register your physical address for emergency services to accurately locate you in case of an emergency.

Always check you understand the capabilities and limitations of your VoIP service provider regarding emergency calling, and have alternative means of contacting emergency services available if necessary.

Choosing The Right VoIP Provider

Looking to switch to VoIP but not sure where to start? A good way is by choosing a provider (like bOnline) that offers a free trial. It’s the ideal way to test out all of the time and money saving features on offer, and of course, to feel comfortable with your emergency calling procedures.

Don’t forget too that landlines are due to be turned off permanently from the end of next year. Could you end up being left behind?

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