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Kari's Law and Baum's Act. How Will it Affect my Business?

Posted by Darren Walters on Mar 25, 2021 11:32:13 AM

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As some business owners and technology professionals may know, in February of 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed into law two statutes intended to improve emergency calling situations. These laws took effect on February 16, 2020, and may require changes and enhancements to customer's telephone systems and/or services.

Here are the details you need to know.

Kari's LawApplies to newly installed* multi-line telephone systems in office buildings, hotels, campuses and other commercial facilities. This law requires that users can directly call emergency services by dialing 911 without having to dial a prefix or trunk group code to access an outside line. For example, it is not necessary to dial an "8" or "9" to access an outside line making a 911 call, in reality a 9911 call.

This law also mandates that systems have the capability of providing an "on-site" notification to a designated contact alerting them of the emergency call. For example, if someone in a downstairs breakroom dials 911, an alert in visual, audible, text, or email form is sent to a designated person or extension within the building letting them know 911 was dialed from that extension.

Section 506 of Ray Baum's ActRequires that the FCC adopt regulations giving 911 emergency services a more accurate dispatchable location for the calling party. So, if someone in a downstairs breakroom dials 911, the local emergency dispatch center receives the exact building location and the specific room from which the call was originated. For example, if the call originated from 1500 North 3rd St., Building A, second floor, room 213, that customer’s system or service needs the capability of delivering additional information above and beyond the number they are calling out on and the physical address assigned to that number.

For the purpose of this article, and without going into too much detail, the rule of thumb is that fixed MLTS or Multi-Line Telephone Systems must be compliant within a year after enactment, and non-fixed MLTS (IP or cloud based non-attached devices) must be compliant within two years.

Important Note—Kari's Law applies to multi-line telephone systems or services manufactured, imported, offered for sale or lease, or installed AFTER the compliance date of February 16, 2020.

Businesses most affected by these new laws:

  • Companies with multiple buildings on their property.
  • Companies with offices in multiple towns.
  • Campus environments, K-12, vocational entities, universities and colleges.
  • Hospitals, hotels, warehouses, multi-floor facilities.
  • Shopping centers, malls, strip mall outlet stores.

Action Items:

  1. If you are unsure about your current system or service capabilities please contact Nex-Tech, or your current equipment and service provider.
  2. Read the FCC Report and Order and consult with your legal representation regarding any questions. https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-improves-access-911-and-timely-assistance-first-responders-0
  3. Identify your extensions based on their physical location rather that the employee’s name that is associated with it. Plan future numbering systems and naming nomenclature accordingly.
  4. Examine how your emergency calling and notification plan dovetails with your existing emergency response or employee safety program.
  5. If looking into upgrading your telecom equipment or services, request specific information on how compliance will be handled by the provider.

Final Thoughts

With the passage of these two important pieces of legislation, the FCC is moving towards establishing uniform federal standards for an exact dispatchable location as well as internal notification to on-site personnel to assist with emergency response. Enterprises that are not legally mandated to conform to these regulations could still be at risk if their current technology does not meet these standards by compromising employee safety. Other perils for entities failing to meet the intent of these laws could include unwanted publicity or potential impact to the financial wealth and overall long-term sustainability of the business.

Know where your risk lies and how to address it – let’s talk today!

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