On February 16, 2018, Kari’s Law was signed into federal law. Named for Kari Hunt Dunn, the law was championed by her family after she was killed and her 9-year-old daughter was unable to reach emergency services because she didn’t know she had to dial “9” to reach an outside line before calling 911 at the hotel where they were staying.
Kari’s Law requires direct dialing of “911” to be enabled in enterprise environments and directs the FCC to develop necessary 911 calling regulations for the multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) that are commonly used for communications services in buildings, like hotels, hospitals, and most office campuses.
Bringing your business into compliance with new laws and regulations can sound daunting, but having the right partner to help guide your efforts can make the February 16, 2020 Kari’s Law compliance date far less intimidating.
What Kari’s Law means for your business’s voice and 911 solutions
No more “9” for outside line
Tragically, the adoption of Kari’s Law was a response to an emergency event in which a child was unable to reach emergency assistance because she did not know she had to dial “9” to reach an outside line to make a 911 call at a hotel. Kari’s law will require that any MLTS will allow callers to reach emergency services (911) without the need to dial a prefix for an outside number first. Thus, among other things, all enterprises utilizing MLTS will need to update their phone configurations accordingly.
Location and notifications
In addition to disallowing prefixes when calling 911, the new rules also aim to ensure help is sent precisely where it’s needed while also notifying designated personnel of the emergency.
When you call 911 from your home, your registered street address is typically passed along to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), who in turn gives that information to emergency responders. But what about at your office? If there’s a medical emergency in a 4th-floor conference room and you call 911 from that office (without having to dial a prefix!), how will they know where to go if they only have the street address?
In addition to the direct dialing and notification requirements of Kari’s Law, pursuant to another federal law called Ray Baum’s Act, the FCC is also creating rules to improve the dispatchable location information that is associated with emergency calls from MLTS. Specifically, the objectives of the new rules are for campuses that use MLTS to be able to pass along location information that would be more specific than a front desk or the administrative office and add such information as building, floor, suite, and even specific conference rooms potentially.
In addition to removing the need to dial a prefix for an outside line when calling 911, Kari’s Law requires businesses using MLTS to also implement notifications to designated personnel when a 911 call has been made. These notifications can take the form of a phone call, email, SMS/text message, or conspicuous on-screen message.
Notifications will allow for designated personnel to know that there’s an emergency and even provide first aid if necessary. Most importantly, it allows them to quickly escort emergency personnel to where they’re needed, helping them through the front doors, elevators, and into keycarded areas depending on the particulars of any enterprise environment.
Don’t go it alone
We know this all sounds like a lot (and in some ways it is), so how can your business manage its legal obligations most effectively?
Well for one, you don’t have to do it alone — reach out to our 911 experts to find out how we can support your business’s 911 calling needs. For example, Bandwidth’s 911 solutions are well-positioned to provide your business with the location and notification functionality you need.
Kari’s Law required compliance by February 16, 2020. Getting started sooner will ensure that you’re not racing to find effective solutions at the last minute.
- Create a checklist to understand what your business needs to do.
- Making sure that your entire team is on the same page will help make sure everyone is working towards the same goal (and that you’re not forgetting a crucial piece).