Contacting a 911 call center from a large facility like an office building, hotel or university campus has not always been as simple as dialing 911. Such facilities typically have multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) which provide challenges in getting help from 911, such as:
- 1. Securing an outside line, since MLTS often require callers to dial a number or code before connecting to an outside line, and
- 2. Providing accurate information about the caller’s location within the building or complex
Two statutes being implemented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act - will make it easier for callers to reach 911, and for emergency services to locate those callers.
Kari’s Law ensures that anyone can reach a 911 call center when dialing 911 from an MLTS. The law is named in honor of Kari Hunt, who was killed in a motel room by her estranged husband in 2013. Her daughter tried to call 911 four times, but the calls never went through because the motel’s phone system required dialing “9” before any call to secure an outbound phone line.
Under the statute, which went into effect on February 16, 2020, MLTS vendors and manufacturers must configure new phone systems to support direct dialing 911. The system must also send a notification to a central location on- or off-site, such as a front desk or security kiosk. The notification will provide an alert that a 911 call was placed, and include a callback number and information about the caller’s location.
RAY BAUM’S Act emphasizes the importance of making dispatchable location information from all 911 calls available to PSAPs, regardless of the technological platform used. The FCC states “dispatchable location means a location delivered to the public safety answering point (PSAP) with a 911 call that consists of the validated street address of the calling party, plus additional information such as suite, apartment or similar information.”
Tools for the 911 Community
The National 911 Program, in conjunction with the FCC, developed the following dynamic, user-friendly tools for emergency communications center (ECC)/PSAP administrators, manufacturers, vendors, service providers and others interested in understanding MLTS and dispatchable location requirements, and the consequences of non-compliance for manufacturers and users of MLTS. Individuals and organizations can download the following resources to access the content.
The tools provide:
- An overview of legislation
- Detailed lists of state laws, FCC rules and terms
- Compliance rules and deadlines
- An interactive checklist to track progress toward compliance
The materials and references within the documents have been developed to assist in relaying general information and increase understanding.
The FCC is the definitive and official authority on compliance and requirements. If more information is needed, please visit the FCC website for additional guidance.