I am in hopes that by now the majority of you reading this article are fully aware of the fact that Kari’s Law is now in effect as of September 1, 2016. For those that may need a reminder of what has transpired or what brought about the new law, here is a condensed version of why this is now part of our 9-1-1 system.
Kari Hunt was murdered in a motel room in Marshall, Texas several years ago. Kari’s 9-year old daughter had tried calling 9-1-1 for help four times from their motel room but could never complete the call. The call never went through because she did not know to first dial “9” for an outside line before dialing 9-1-1. This was a tragic event and one that most of us could not imagine experiencing. What did come out of this terrible tragedy was that on May 15, 2015, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 788 into law (Kari’s Law).
Kari’s Law states that all multi-line telephone systems must provide direct access to 9-1-1 service without the caller needing to dial an initial number (“9” for example), digit, prefix or other access number or code before dialing 9-1-1.
Kari’s law specifically applies to 9-1-1 access and notification of a 9-1-1 call to a central location on the site of the facility from where the call was made, and per Rule 251.15, to an optional additional location. In some cases, expensive Automatic Location Information (ALI) database management tools are required to comply.
The good news for Mercury and NEC customers is that if you have an NEC system that is of the SV8000, SV9000 or 3C series platforms, your system can be programmed to comply with this law and no software or hardware upgrades will be required.
However, if you have an older version of NEC system or you have another make and model system all together, you should contact Mercury Communications so one of our Telecom experts can provide you with valuable information pertaining to your options and obligations. Also, if your system is installed within Travis County, you may call (512)974-0845 and press Option 3 for a 911 test call. A word of caution here however, if you simply dial 9-1-1 and your system is programmed correctly, you may encounter a visit from the local police or sherriff’s department.
In the event you need some time to comply with this new law, a one-year waiver may be granted, if you are willing to take on the risk and responsibility of emergency situations occurring on your premises. (Not recommended).
My last bit of advice would be this; please don’t take any chances with your current phone system. I would strongly suggest that every business, regardless of its’ size or industry, make this a top priority. Contact your phone system provider and make sure that you and your phone system are in compliance. We all want to do our part to ensure that another tragedy like that of Kari Hunt is preventable the next time someone’s life is at stake.