Kari’s Law will officially go into effect on February 16, 2020. For many, this federal regulation won’t impact current communication functions, but for multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) — like large office buildings, campuses or hotels — it opens the doors for greater liability in the case of an emergency. Let’s get into the details to ensure that your organization is in compliance before February 16.
New 911 Law Requirements
The adoption of Kari’s Law is meant to ensure the safety of a 911 caller. It directly targets MLTS locations, which have historically proven to delay immediate contact with a public safety answering point, or PSAP.
Take the story of the law’s namesake, for instance: Kari Hunt was murdered by her estranged husband in a Texas motel room in 2013. As she was being attacked, her 9-year-old daughter attempted to call 911 four times from the motel room phone, but was unaware that you had to dial “9” before dialing in order to reach an outside number. It’s possible that this tragedy could have been minimized had she actually gotten a call out to emergency services.
Consequently, Kari’s Law dictates that MLTS locations in the United States allow users to dial 911 directly, without being hindered by any additional digit, code or prefix — like “9” — to reach an external line. It also requires that a simultaneous notification be sent to alert someone at the facility that a 911 call is taking place. This notification can be in the form of an SMS text message and must include the fact that a 911 call has been made, a valid callback number and the specific information about the caller’s location.
Many MLTS locations would actually route a 911 caller to their own security desk to gather information before routing the call to a PSAP. You can see how this could delay the arrival of emergency services and diminish the chance of a quick resolution. By simultaneously alerting a facility touchpoint — like a front desk or security office — someone familiar with the building or campus will more likely be able to assist first responders.
Federal E911 Compliance
Kari’s Law, which has been added to the Communications Act of 1934, was enacted on February 16, 2018. However, compliance with this law is required on February 16, 2020. This means that the regulation only applies to MLTS that are “manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased or installed” after February 16, 2020. Therefore, MLTS that were manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, first sold or leased or installed before February 16, 2020 are grandfathered in and do not need to be in compliance.
We know this is a lot of information to take in, and want to make sure that you are fully in compliance. Our services are fully compliant with Kari’s Law, but it is up to the business or organization to ensure the correct configuration of their MLTS. If you have any further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. The safety of your employees, tenants and students is of the utmost importance.