Being able to reach 911 in the event of an emergency is critical and may be something we assume to be easily accomplished. However, contacting 911 from a large facility – such as a hotel, office building, or university campus – that has multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) has not always been as simple as dialing 9-1-1.
Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s act are MLTS E911 regulations implemented by the FCC to address some challenges of MLTS and make 911 services more effective.
Kari’s Law was adopted in response to, and named after, the tragic case of Kari Hunt Dunn, in which a child wasn’t able to reach 911 because she didn’t know to dial the prefix “9” to reach an outside line from her hotel room. It’s 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.
Here’s what you need to know about the requirements set forth by Kari’s Law, which came into effect on February 16, 2020.
Direct access to 911
The days of dialing “9” before calling 911 from a hotel room are over.
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.
Notify key personnel
Kari’s Law also requires those using MLTS to implement alerts to designated personnel whenever someone on the premises places a 911 call.
This ensures someone knows 911 has been dialed and is ready to help emergency responders get through the front doors, security, elevators and keycarded areas, to quickly escort them to the person who called for emergency services.
Key personnel can be notified via phone call, SMS message or a clear on-screen message.
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.
RAY BAUM's Act
In addition to Kari’s Law, the FCC also created RAY BAUM’s Act, which requires that 911 calls convey a dispatchable location to dispatch centers.
If you were to call 911 from your home, your registered street address is sent to the dispatch center and passed along 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 more specific information about where you are within the building to be able to reach you – aka a dispatchable location, which includes building number, floor, suite and potentially, specific offices and rooms.
RAY BAUM’s Act has a January 6, 2022 deadline for nomadic VoIP services, which may include use of devices that can easily move around, such as laptops and tablets.
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