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New Federal Laws Require Direct 911 Access From Company Telephone Systems

    Client Alerts
  • September 20, 2019

In February 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law two statutes intended to improve emergency calling. These laws take effect February 16, 2020, and may require changes to company telephone systems to allow employees and others better access to 911 emergency services.

Kari’s Law applies to newly installed multi-line telephone systems in office buildings, hotels, and other commercial facilities. The law requires that users be able to directly call emergency services by dialing 911 without having to dial a prefix to reach an outside line. Dialing 911 must also provide notification to any front desk or security office maintained by the facility. Ray Baum’s Act requires that the Federal Communications Commission adopt regulations that would give 911 emergency services a dispatchable location for the calling party.

FCC rules require implementation of the Kari’s Law requirements for telephone systems manufactured, purchased, or installed after February 16, 2020. The FCC‘s dispatch location rules have not been finalized. Employers installing new telephone systems should be aware of these requirements and should include provisions that assure compliance in any purchase, lease, or installation contracts with telecommunications providers.