Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act: What You Need to Know Now

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What You Need to Know

Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act were signed in 2018 and affect emergency services communications. Kari’s Law applies to Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) commonly used in business, hospitality, service, government schools, colleges, and universities. Ray Baum’s Act requires additional location information when placing a call to 9-1-1.

 

Kari’s Law 

In 2013, Kari Hunt of East Texas was killed in a hotel room by her estranged husband. Kari’s then nine-year-old daughter attempted to dial out from the hotel room several times, but she didn’t know that to do so from the hotel phone, she would first have to dial the number ‘9’ to make an outgoing call. 

 

After Kari’s death, it was determined that in time between the attack on Kari and the time that help actually arrived, the paramedics likely would have been able to save her, had they been reached the first time Kari’s daughter tried to place a call.

 

Kari’s Law went into effect nationwide in Februrary of 2020 and it requires a Multi-Line Telephone System to be configured to dial 9-1-1 in three keystrokes and be connected to a 9-1-1 call center. In other words, an MLTS must enable users to dial 9-1-1 directly, without having to dial any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix, including any trunk-access code such as the digit ‘9’, to reach an outside line. 

If you are a VIP customer, most, if not all, of VIP’s installed bases currently have this capability. If your organization’s system requires a “user” to dial a digit to acquire an outside line, however, please contact VIP and we will assist you with making any changes necessary to comply with this requirement.

To test your system: 

  • Pick up a handset and dial 9-1-1. 
  • Let the call connect to the 9-1-1 call center and inform the operator the name of your organization and that there is not currently an emergency. 
  • Let the operator know that you are testing your system’s 9-1-1 functionality. Inform the operator of the address from which you are calling and confirm that it matches the address that is displayed to their system. They will be familiar with this and you should be able to terminate the call at that point unless instructed otherwise by the 9-1-1 operator. 

Kari’s Law also requires that, when a 9-1-1 call is made, there must be some type of internal notification to a central location at the facility where the system is installed (e.g. an organization’s system administrator, safety director, executive operations manager, etc.), or to another person or organization regardless of the location, if the system is able to be configured to provide the notification without an improvement to the hardware or software of the system. 

Ray Baum’s Act

Ray Baum’s Act was named in honor of the late Ray Baum, a small town lawyer who went on to serve in a number of public roles at the state and federal level. The Act became co-terminus with Kari’s law as the two are similar in nature.   

  • Ray Baum’s Act requires the conveyance of a “dispatchable location” to the Public Safety Answering Point (“PSAP”) during 911 calls, regardless of the technological platform used. 
  • Pursuant to that directive, an MLTS is required to convey the street address of the calling party, and additional information such as room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party. 
  • MLTS marketplace participants are afforded flexibility in deciding what level of detail should be included in the location information provided to PSAPs for particular environments, so long as the level of detail is functionally sufficient to enable first responders to identify the location of a 911 call in that environment.

Your company is urged to assess its geography and determine the appropriate level of detail that should be provided to the PSAP in connection with a 9-1-1 call. 

Following that assessment, contact your telecommunications provider so that they may advise you on how to comply with the Ray Baum’s Act. Should you have any questions regarding the level of detail that should be provided for your organization’s location information, we strongly urge you to consult with your legal counsel.

The details of Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act can be reviewed here

You can download the infographic here

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