Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Kari’s Law Compliance by September 1, 2017

As of September 1st, 2016 Kari’s Law has been a big topic in Texas. That’s when the law first went into effect and businesses with multi-line telephone systems (MLTS), also known as PBX phones, must now provide direct access to 9-1-1 without having to dial an additional digit such as 9. Texas is not the only state that has adopted a Kari’s Law- Illinois, Tennessee, Maryland and New York City have as well. More states are working on their own version of Kari’s Law.

Kari’s Law represents a culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Kari Hunt. For those who do not know the story, Kari Hunt met her estranged husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas with their kids. During the meeting, Kari’s husband attacked her in the bathroom and ultimately killed her. Kari’s 9-year-old daughter attempted to dial 9-1-1 several times and she was unable to get through because the hotel phone required you to dial a 9 first to get to an outside line. By the time help was able to arrive, it was too late.

Since Kari’s death, her father Hank Hunt has made it his mission to educate the public as well as elected officials across the U.S. about the important need to change all MLTS phones to provide direct access to 9-1-1. That means any phone that you would usually have to dial a number to get an outside line first (i.e. hotels, schools, large businesses, and hospitals) should now be able to dial 9-1-1 and get connected to 9-1-1 immediately.

It is important that businesses comply with this law. If for some reason the existing MLTS cannot be re-programmed or replaced, then a one-year waiver will be granted upon timely submission of an affidavit. The waiver as well as more information on this law and how it works is located at www.texas911.org.

CSEC created a PSA to bring awareness to the law (it is also available in Spanish). They then created a toolkit to assist 9-1-1 educators and coordinators with their efforts in educating businesses and the public. The toolkit includes a media release template (English and Spanish), a brochure (English and Spanish), a list of business outreach opportunities and a letter template to send out to business service users (BSUs) who have MLTS phones. You can find the toolkit here. Let’s make sure all businesses with MLTS phones provide direct access to 9-1-1 because it could and will ultimately help save lives.

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