When dealing with an Emergency, the most vital information for the Emergency Services is the caller’s location. In many cases the caller may be unable to provide their location to a sufficient level of accuracy for the Emergency Services to locate them and so it is vital that all available information on the caller’s location is available to the Emergency Services.
Service providers are required to provide the best available caller location to the ECAS who in turn will make this information available automatically and in real time when the emergency call is connected to the Emergency Service.
The ECAS can be considered as a Caller Location broker in this respect.
Additionally, the ECAS utilises the Caller’s location to perform automatic identification of the correct emergency service operational area for the caller’s current location.
In order to ensure that an approximate or expected caller location is available to the ECAS when an emergency call is received, the required information must be uploaded to the ECAS Emergency Routing Database in advance.
The Caller Location Information required by the ECAS is defined in the industry agreed specifications maintained by ECAS and adopted by the Telecommunications Industry.
The specifications to be used by a service provider to submit data to the ECAS Emergency Routing Database will depend on the type of call service it provides to its customers.
Fixed line Emergency calls
Service Providers providing fixed line and Fixed replacement VoIP services or indeed any service that can originate emergency calls from the fixed line number ranges should provide accurate address information for the address at which the fixed line number is expected to be used for every fixed line number it has allocated to a subscriber (including all individual numbers in MSN ranges)
The ECAS Caller Location Specifications define 2 types of data upload for fixed line details, Installation Address records, and Billing Address records. These are separated to take into account the wholesale/retail commercial arrangements in the telecoms industry where a fixed line can be physically provided by a wholesale operator (e.g. Eir) and then resold to a customer by a retail operator. Further details on these two types of fixed line information uploads is available in the Fixed Location Information Specification.
Fixed line service providers will need to upload caller location information to the ECAS using either the Installation Address file or Billing Address file or indeed both.
Note – Due to the fixed width format of the Installation Address file (a legacy file format inherited by the ECAS) it has been noted over the years that service providers can have difficulty correctly representing an installation address within the available fields.
It is important that service providers try to meet the requirements in the specification with regard to which data is contained in the various fields and in particular the last 3 lines of the address fields in order to allow the place name or locality of the address to be accurately and automatically identified in the ECAS Emergency Routing Database gazetteer.
It can be particularly difficult to represent Dublin addresses including Dublin postal districts within the available field format and ECAS has created a guidance document which is available on request, to assist service providers on how best to try and represent subscribers’ addresses.
Given the nature of a fixed line service being provided for use at a known location and the widespread availability and common use of geographic information, Fixed line service providers are strongly encouraged to include Eircodes, geographic coordinates, or indeed both for fixed line installations as this type of accurate location information is invaluable to the emergency services and can eliminate unnecessary delays in providing assistance to the caller.
Mobile originated Emergency calls
With mobile originated emergency calls, the caller may be anywhere within the area of service of the originating mobile network and so provision of caller location to the ECAS in advance is not possible in the same manner as for fixed line originated emergency calls. In addition, a user of a mobile network, for the purpose of making an emergency call, may not even be a direct subscriber to that mobile network service (they may be roaming or indeed a user of another mobile network making the Emergency Call in a Limited Service State).
The ECAS requires that the mobile network operator provide the Mobile Cell Identifier for the Mobile Cell being used to place the Emergency call with every call. This is provided as described in the Mobile Location Transfer specification.
In order to approximate a geographic location for mobile calls, the ECAS requires mobile network operators to provide details of coverage areas for all mobile Cells to the ECAS in advance of the call and update this information in the ECAS database on a regular basis to take account of changes on their radio network (new cells, moved IDs, etc.) This information should be provided in accordance with the mobile location conversion specification.
Providing Location information to the ECAS
Both the Fixed Line Information and the Mobile Location Information should be uploaded to the ECAS database in accordance with the Location Information Transfer Specification.
Uploads to the ECAS Emergency Routing Database is performed according to a batch process and the results (success or failure of the import to the ECAS Emergency Routing Database) of each upload are recorded and made available to the Service Providers in the form of a report file which should be checked for and retrieved by the Service Provider for each file upload.
Any errors reported in these files should be reviewed either automatically or manually by the Service Provider in order to correct issues such as incorrect information types and upload file format errors.