In 2013, Kari Hunt was in a hotel room with her children when she was killed by her estranged husband. Her then-9-year-old daughter tried repeatedly to call 911, as she had been taught to do, but was unsuccessful because she didn’t know the hotel phone required her to dial 9 to get an outside line. To prevent another tragedy like this happening again, on February 16, 2018, Kari’s Law became law of the land.
What Kari’s Law Means for Your Business
Kari’s Law applies to any person engaged in the business of installing, managing, or operating a multi-line telephone system (MLTS), often used by offices, campuses, hotels, etc. The law requires all MLTSs manufactured, imported, first sold or leased (or first offered for sale or lease), or installed after February 16, 2020, to enable users to dial 911 directly, without having to dial a prefix. The legislation also requires all MLTSs to provide notification, for example, to a front desk or security office, when a 911 call is made. Such notifications can be delivered via phone call, email, text message, an on-screen alert, or an audible alarm.
While systems in place before the 2020 deadline are exempt, given the potential impact to public safety, bringing your grandfathered systems into compliance is worth strong consideration.
If you are responsible for managing your organization’s PBX or MLTS, you should review the FCC Report and Order to understand your requirements under Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act. As with any regulatory requirements, you should consult with legal counsel.
Prepare for the First Ray Baum’s Act Deadline in 2021
A little more than a month after Kari’s Law was enacted, Ray Baum’s Act was signed. Section 506 required the FCC to consider rules to ensure that MLTSs convey detailed dispatchable location information—such as street address with building number, floor, suite or room, etc.—to public safety with a 911 call. Providing more granular location details can help emergency responders reach 911 callers faster. On December 6, 2019, The FCC adopted the rules and published the following compliance dates for the Section 506 “dispatchable location” components of Ray Baum’s Act:
- January 6, 2021: fixed (wired) MLTS, VoIP, telephone, and telephone relay services (TRS)
- January 6, 2022: non-fixed (wireless) MLTS, VoIP, telephone, and TRS
This means you may need to update the provisioned emergency location information for your employees and locations to include the requisite location details. And you will need a plan for mobility services such as softphones or other mobile devices that don’t stay in a fixed location.
BCM One and Kari’s Law/Ray Baum’s Act Compliance
For BCM One’s UCaaS clients, since it’s a managed service, you don’t need to take any action.
For our SIP.US clients and SIPTRUNK resellers, ensuring access to 911 without a prefix number is a function of your PBX system, so talk to your PBX vendor and make sure it’s set up appropriately, and work with them to test it. For SIP.US customers who have an MLTS that is incapable of sending a notification or are unsure how to configure a notification, then we can help by sending an email when 911 is dialed. We’ve added a field to the control panel to allow you to update the email address you want to be notified. We will provision that notification address within two days. In the event of a 911 call from one of our e911-enabled lines, a notification will be automatically sent to the email you select, as long as your phone system sends out the Enhanced DID as their Caller ID Number.
For our other SIP Trunking clients, please contact your account manager with any questions.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about compliant voice solutions from BCM One.