A Quick Guide to Kari’s Law and MLTS 911
News - 1.31.2020 - 3 min read

A Quick Guide to Kari’s Law and MLTS 911

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Kari's Law

Kari’s Law is named after the tragic case of Kari Hunt Dunn and is designed to ensure that people can readily call 911 from business locations with multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) like hotels, office buildings and college campuses.

It was signed into federal law in 2018, and businesses must be compliant with Kari’s Law by February 16, 2020. And, unsurprisingly, there are fines for failing to comply with the new regulations.

Fines are not strictly defined in the legislation because enforcement is applied on a per violation basis. But, based on other FCC regulation enforcement, the fines could be steep.

The deadline is coming up fastーhere’s what you need to know to meet the requirements of Kari’s Law.

Prefixes for calling 911 must be removed

The days of dialing “9” before calling 911 from a hotel room are over. And that’s a good thing.

Kari’s Law requires the removal of any prefixes for calling emergency services (911). That means that your MLTS will need to be configured so that anyone can call 911 directly—without dialing a prefix—regardless of where they are in the building.

Phone systems must be capable of sending detailed location information

Ordinarily, when you call 911, the street address is sent to the dispatch center. Dispatchers pass that information to emergency responders. But, if you dial 911 from a hotel room or office building, the street address won’t be enough. Emergency responders need to know where you are within the building.

In addition to Kari’s Law, the FCC also created Ray Baum’s Act, which requires that an MLTS can send specific location information to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). That specific information includes building number, floor, suite and potentially, specific offices and rooms.

This way, the information sent with a 911 call will direct emergency responders to the person who called 911, rather than the front desk, administration office or somewhere else.

Key personnel must be notified whenever there’s a 911 call

Kari’s Law also requires that an MLTS sends an alert to designated personnel whenever someone on the premises places a 911 call.

The purpose is to ensure that someone knows someone has dialed 911 and is ready to help emergency responders get through the front doors and security, access keycarded areas, find elevators, and—in short—find the person who called for emergency services.

Key personnel can be notified via phone call, SMS message or a clear on-screen message.

Implementing compliance

Many multi-line phone systems have the foundational capabilities to comply with Kari’s Law. Compliance will largely be a matter of configuration for many businesses.

But, if you need to update your MLTS, look for a phone system with these core capabilities:
  • Direct dialing to an outside line or at least direct dialing to 911
  • Device location
  • Internal call notifications
If your phone system already does this, you’re in a good position to get compliant with Kari’s Law. But, once you have an MLTS that has these capabilities, you’ll be able to get into compliance with Kari’s Law by the February 16 deadline.
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