No More “9” For Outside Line

December 27, 2019
Todd Fritz
2020-01 IC blog

As parents, we teach our kids what to do if there is an emergency. We want them to be prepared, to know what to do., we want them to be safe. Don’t talk to strangers! Stop, drop and roll! Practicing fire drills, tornado drills, and the escape route in case of fire. How to best help others by teaching them when and how to dial 911.  What do they do when no matter what we’ve taught them the system fails?

December 2013 in a Texas hotel room, the system failed tragically for 9-year-old Brianna Hunt.  She tried to dial 911 FOUR TIMES from her hotel room as she watched her mother being stabbed to death by an estranged husband.  FOUR TIMES she dialed 911 and couldn’t get through because the hotel’s phone system required her to first dial a 9 to get an outside line, then to dial 911. Would you know to do this during an emergency? How could a child?

Kari’s Law (named for Brianna’s mother) was passed and signed by the President in February 2018.  This law mandates that all multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) used in enterprise businesses like hospitals, campus environments and hotels be required to directly dial 911.  These businesses will have until February 16, 2020 to comply with this law.

Here are a few of the main items within this law to make it easier to understand:

  1. No longer needing to dial a “9” for an outside line. Businesses must make sure their phone systems can bypass this in the event of dialing 911.  Most of the time this can be done at little or no extra cost because it is allowing the phone system to enable a feature it already has built within it.
  2. Onsite notification is a requirement. If 911 is dialed, there needs to be onsite notification given in the form of a phone call, text, or onscreen message.  This notification will alert a designated person of the emergency to assist in first aide and/or escort emergency personnel to the location.
  3. Passing along location information to dispatch. In some cases, MLTS must also pass along location information (such as fourth floor, door C, building 2, suites, etc) to the dispatchers.  Today, most phone systems only pass the main physical address location on 911.

How can you help?

#1 KNOW if your company and your phone systems are compliant with Kari’s Law. if you are uncertain about whether you are compliant or if this law applies to your business, call us and we would be happy to help.

#2) Be aware and ask questions. Make sure that you and your family are informed and ready to get help to you as quickly as possible.  If you stay in a hotel, if you or your family members are in a school, dorm, or other campus setting, or if you are visiting grandma in the nursing home, don’t be afraid to ask questions BEFORE you need help.  Explain why you are asking these questions, and no doubt you’ll get them answered.

  • Ask if you are able to dial 911 directly in the case of an emergency, without having to dial another number to get an outside line.
  • Ask if the emergency dispatcher would know which room you dialed 911 from and what would be the shortest route to get that help to you if you needed it.
  • Ask if they have someone that is alerted when a 911 call is placed that can assist either you, or the emergency personnel who need to get to you as quickly as possible.

Technology is ever changing, and communications are a HUGE part of that.  We are your local experts. We want you all to be safe, we want your loved ones to be safe, and we want you to be able to get the help you need when you need it the most.  Wishing you all a safe and prosperous New Year!

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