When a medical emergency occurs, we have all been trained to call 911 and have the expectation that assistance will be quick, concise and successful.

Unfortunately, a life-threatening medical emergency in my dental practice required two calls to 911, both of which resulted in the 911 dispatcher unable to locate us. My office is on Route 7, one of the main roads in the state. We were then asked by the dispatcher which ambulance service we use. Well, as we all know, there is only one ambulance service in Rutland City, and the 911 dispatcher was unaware of this?

Maybe if the state had kept local 911 dispatchers, this confusion would not have occurred. I received a letter from the commissioner of the State Department of Public Safety basically informing me that everything was handled correctly by E911 and that there is not an issue with the E911 system in Vermont.

Well, maybe the issue is with E911 knowing the location of residents in Rutland County? The delayed response was also blamed on my phone service provider, Comcast, having technical difficulties during the exact time of our emergency; however, Comcast does not verify this.

We were lucky that this medical emergency occurred in our facility with oxygen and an emergency medical kit available. I live in Rutland Town but do not have this at my home, nor would I expect most citizens do. I am not looking to place blame but rather to state that the citizens of Rutland County need to be aware of a potential issue when calling 911 and that 911 may not know their specific location.

Whatever is behind all of this, I know that an ambulance did not arrive for 20 minutes and that each time 911 was contacted for help, they could not locate us. Is that acceptable by our state government for the citizens of Rutland County?

Judith Fisch


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(2) comments


Your story is troublesome, and I urge you to continue to get to the bottom of the situation. Unfortunately, the E911 network is a very complex entity. E911 operates differently when you're your home, or from your office, and even in that environment there can be vast differences depending on what type of service that you have. Since you reference Comcast, I'll assume that you have a VoIP based solution. In these situations, 911 works very differently from your residence. Comcast is not a telephone company and therefore does not have any DIRECT connectivity to the 911 network. They utilize a Voice Positioning Carrier, known as a VPC, to deliver the 911 calls to the appropriate agency, based on the database records that Comcast creates. While the problem may have been with Comcast, it is most likely the case that your E911 address database record is incorrect. You need to get to the bottom of this, or until you do you will not have proper 911 service, While Comcast may claim that their terms and conditions clearly state that E911 is not supported on their network and that you should maintain alternative service, be sure to push this matter to its limit. Don't let them push back to the "buyer beware" defense.


I work for a major delivery company, and it's troubling to me that we (2) Heather Lane's in the 05701 zip code. Unless you know the specific numbers on each Heather Lane, it causes alot of confusion and could very well delay help in an emergency.

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