Some 911 Rules Change Next Month

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Certain new 911 rules become effective February 16, not this month as we reported yesterday.

The FCC adopted rules for 911 calls made from Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) in August 2019. The FCC adopted rules for 911 calls made from Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) in August 2019. They implement Kari’s Law, which applies to MLTS. MLTS are telephone systems that serve consumers in environments such as office buildings, campuses, and hotels.

Kari’s Law is named after Kari Hunt, who was murdered in a Texas hotel room just over seven years ago. Kari’s daughter tried calling 911 during the attack, but the call never went through because she didn’t know she had to dial another number first to reach an outside line. Her father, Hank Hunt, pushed for a law to eliminate the need to dial “9” or “1” to reach 911 through MLTS.

Kari’s Law requires MLTS systems to enable users to dial 911 directly, without having to dial a prefix to reach an outside line, even if the MLTS otherwise requires it for other calls outside its system. The law also requires MLTS systems to notify someone such as the front desk or security office when a 911 call is made. The new law applies to phones installed or manufactured after February 2020, which is when the law becomes effective.

Another change coming to 911 rules requires the Commission to conduct a rulemaking proceeding to consider adopting rules to ensure that ‘‘dispatchable location’’ is conveyed with 911 calls, regardless of the technology platform used, so that 911 call centers will receive the caller’s location automatically and can dispatch responders more quickly. Dispatchable location refers to the street address of the caller, and “additional information such as room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party.’’ Vendors have interpreted this language in different ways, according to telecom attorney Martha Buyer.

The effective date was set by Federal Register publication.

January 6, 2020   

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