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Is Your Phone System In Compliance With Kari´s Law?

Kari’s law went in to effect on Sunday 15th February in the United States which stipulates that all phone systems need direct dialling access to 911 without having to dial an additional digit to reach an outside line. This is following tragic circumstances of an incident in a hotel when a little girl could not call 911 in an emergency situation in her hotel room.

Penalties for not complying to the new law could face charges up to $10,000 with an additional daily fine of $500 for every day the system is not up to compliance. In addition to ensuring your system is up to date businesses and hotels need to file a Federal Mandated Compliance Audit.

To ensure your phone system is in compliance check to see if you can dial 911 directly, without the need to get an outside line. If you still need to dial to get an outside line your business needs to take action. If you are in a phone contact you need to call the providers and ask them to make the change. There may be additional costs for this, but it is something as a business can not be avoided.

The Story Behind Kari’s Law

Kari’s law originates from a tragic event back in 2013 in a hotel room. A man named Brad Dunn stabbed his wife, Kari 21 times in the bathroom of a hotel room and then fled the scene with his middle child. He was later caught and arrested. Kari’s daughter Briana wanted to call 911, but was unaware she needed to call 9 to reach an outside line first. She tried four times but was unsuccessful getting the help she needed.

To make matters worse when Briana did eventually call for help the members of the hotel, the staff did not speak English and were unable to understand what was needed, they did not call for help, or inform the manager of the hotel. This has led to an additional requirement of the phone system to provide the location of the emergency call detailing the address and room number so the call can be traced instantly.

It is thought that if the laws had been in place from the beginning then she might have been able to get the help she needed and Kari could have been seen to sooner. Lawyers on the case have specified that if emergency help was achieved faster then there is a high possibility Kari could have been saved.

The now mandatory law has followed a two year transition period after the president signed Kari’s law on February 16th 2018, on the 50th anniversary of the first 911 call in America. Companies were given a transition period of  two years to ensure compliance, which has now come in to full force after February 2020.

Karis law, what you need to know

Are You Compliant With Kari’s Law?

There are two points to ensure phone system compatibility:

Direct Dialling of 911

The Notification of the location of the call (Ray Baum’s Act)

The Ray Baum’s Act

This is the second part to Kari´s law that means when a 911 call is essential for the caller location to be given along side the call. For larger organisations this would mean a room number, or extension; however for smaller organisations the street address would be sufficient. This information help the emergency team quickly located the Origen of the call allowing a timely response time and in situations of emergency every second counts.

What this means for your business?

It is essential to evaluate your telephone system to ensure it complied with the law. Failure to do not only carries a hefty fine but is also a health and safety risk. A phone system works by sharing access to outside lines, they do not have individual direct access, thus you need to assess whether this is still the case when 911 is dialled, ensuring the call is routed directly, without first requiring a prefixed number to access an outside line.

If you need to upgrade your phone system and you are under phone contact, you will need to consult with your provider. However if you are not in a contract you should consult a professional regarding an upgrade. It may be possible to upgrade your exiting hardware to ensure compliance.

As for all new installations after February 2020 by law they need to comply with the new regulations.

E911 Technology

This is the technology behind providing the location with the 911 call, it also provides the original number of the call. This has been lifesaving in instances when the caller can not give the location of the call, or if the call is dropped and there is not enough time to correctly convert the message. Businesses now must ensure they have the correct E911 technology as historically this technology was not applicable to Muti-line systems.

NG911 Technology

This is the new technology hat transmits the IP location of the caller along with the call to the emergency services to give the location of the call. In order to ensure Kari’s law compliance is is recommended that businesses utilise this technology.

How To Test Your Companies Phone System

When you have your system in place you will need to ensure that the location given in a 911 call matches the actual location of the call. However it is not advisable to call 911 directly to test this as you may be blocking emergency calls. Instead call your local public safety answering point (PSAP) and ask them the best way to check this.

Why Do You Need To Comply With Kari’s Law?

After February 2020 under federal state law all companies must comply with Kari’s law, but there are two main reasons why you should ensure complience for your company.

  1. Lives can be saved. If there is any emergency in your business, the right help can be obtained as fast as possible. You do not want the risk of a Kari situation in your business.
  2. Heafty Fines. A fine of up to $10,000 could be levied plus $500 for every day passing the deadline for compliance.

Businesses have been given two year notice and the technology behind the changes can save lives.

For peace of mind you need to ensure your system in compliant today! If you need to upgrade your system, we can help with free no obligation quotes in your area.




Author: Yazz

Yazz is a trained telecommunications engineer with a diploma in telecommunications. He has spent the last 15 years working for Telefonica, one of the largest telephone operators and mobile network providers in the world.