Ideacom Solutions Group

Your phone system and 911

E911– Two laws you need to know about…..
Kari’s Law is an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 that goes into effect February, 2020. It requires MLTS (multi-line telephone systems) to be programmed to dial 911 without having any additional leading digits such as having to dial “9” to reach an outside line. It applies to both hosted phone systems and premise based.

Ray Baum’s Act was primarily created in order to more accurately locate 911 callers by providing a “dispatchable location” of the caller and requires a notification be sent to someone or group that has knowledge of the handset locations to guide emergency responders to the location and perhaps render immediate assistance while waiting. 

What does this mean for my business?
It’s important for those who manage MLTSs to have a full understanding of what it means to be in compliance with this law. MLTSs are used not only in hotels, but in schools, hospitals, and office buildings. Any business that operates a MLTS is responsible for configuring it to comply with Kari’s Law. It’s also important to note that individual states are able to modify the law to enact even stricter compliance rules as long as they are in line with the federal version. Most hosted phone systems and premise based phone systems need to have the programming verified and tested to ensure the proper information is being sent out with a 911 call.

Any business or agency who does not comply with Kari’s Law could face a fine of up to $10,000 in addition to other penalties, including a daily fine of up to $500 each day they are found not in compliance.

We can help you become compliant with this new law. With our email and SMS alerts for E911 services, you will be automatically alerted anytime an emergency call is made with any of your DIDs. Other E911 features we offer include:

  • On/Off-Net DID Provisioning – Register numbers across multiple networks.
  • Alerts – Enable SMS and email alerts and get notified any time an emergency is reported with your DIDs.

Location & 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 on-site personnel of the emergency.

Location Information
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 locations 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 on-site personnel that emergency services have been contacted, and where they’re needed , via email, SMS/text message, messenger service, or phone call.

On-site notifications will allow for on-site personnel to know that there’s an emergency and provide first aid if able, but perhaps more importantly, it allows them to quickly escort emergency personnel to where they’re needed, helping them through the front doors, elevators, and by 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.

Get started soon
Kari’s Law requires compliance by February 16, 2020. Getting started sooner will ensure that you’re not racing to find effective solutions at the last minute.

Understand your vulnerabilities
We can help you create a checklist to understand what your business needs to do and help document your internal processes. Ensuring that your entire team is on the same page will help make sure everyone understands what to do in an emergency and just might save a life! 

About the Author

Tammy was born and raised in Central Florida. Her passion for technology is only rivaled by fishing, Single Malt Scotch and fine cigars and not necessarily in that order. She is Vice President of Ideacom Solutions Group which has been providing telecom solutions in Central Florida since 1958. Tammy’s areas of expertise includes VOIP hardware and services, Telecom Expense Management and Carrier Services. During her 30+ years in telecom she’s been a member of several Dealer Council’s and Product Advisory Committees for global service providers and manufacturers. She can be reached at Connect with Tammy on LinkedIn.

Posted in