It’s not unusual to be using a hotel or office phone system and need to dial “9” before dialing the number you need.
It’s been a common way to separate internal phone system calls from external ones. But this system has had tragic results when it comes to 911 emergency calls, and as a result, a law went into effect called Kari’s Law to resolve the problem.
Kari’s Law is named for Kari Hunt, a mother that was murdered by her estranged husband in a motel room in 2013. Kari’s 9-year-old daughter attempted to call 911 a total of four times but was unaware that the phone system required dialing “9” first, so was unable to make the call.
In 2018, the law was enacted, and it went into effect on February 16, 2020. It requires that all multi-line telephone systems (such as those found in offices, hospitals, hotels, factories, etc.) have direct 911 dialing capabilities. This means if someone dials 911, they should be immediately connected without needing to dial another number to get an outbound line.
A related regulation that’s connected to Kari’s Law is RAY BAUM’s Act. This Act also applies to multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) and it requires that the system “adequately identify the location of the calling party.”
In other words, an MLTS, including VoIP phones, must have a dispatchable location so emergency responders can find a caller in distress that may not have provided the address or a floor number in the case of a multi-story office building.
Compliance dates for RAY BAUM’s Act are:
- Fixed MLTS, interconnected VoIP, telephony, and telephone relay services: January 6, 2021.
- Non-fixed MLTS, interconnected VoIP, and telephone relay services: January 6, 2022.
It’s important to note that “non-fixed” would be off-premises calls. For example, if you have a VoIP phone system that employees use while working remotely or from a smartphone while traveling, that is also governed by the compliance requirements.
What Does This Mean For Me?
In summary, companies already are required to have their phone systems in compliance with Kari’s Act.
This means that callers must be able to directly call out to 911 on a phone system, without needing an additional number.
As of this past January, any fixed phone systems (i.e., on-premises) also need to comply with RAY BAUM’s Act, and by January 2022, non-fixed (off-premises) phone systems need to be in compliance.
This means that phone systems need to give a “dispatchable location” to the 911 operators so emergency responders know where to go. This includes more than just the building address for multi-story and multi-office buildings.
What Are the Non-Compliance Penalties?
Companies not in compliance with Kari’s Law could be fined as much as $10,000, plus other penalties as well. Additional penalties include a potential fine of up to $500 per day until a phone system is brought into compliance.
UD Voice: Enterprise-Class VoIP Phone System that is 911 Compliant
It’s important to review your phone system to ensure it complies with Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act relating to 911 calls. If you’re found to be in non-compliance, the cost can be stiff when it comes to fines, and even worse if there’s an actual emergency and someone has trouble calling 911 to get help.
Unbound Digital offers a full-featured phone system that supports both on-premises and remote teams called UD Voice.
UD Voice is fully compliant with the 911 requirements in Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act.
Why move to a UD Voice VoIP System? Besides ensuring your phone system is in full compliance with the law, it includes multiple other business-enhancing features.
Pay Less & Get More Features
With UD Voice, you get big business features but for an affordable price. VoIP technology allows you to enjoy features like hold music, company directory, auto-attendant, ring groups, voicemail, and more.
You get a full package of features and only pay a low monthly price. There are also no costly setup fees for equipment installation like there are with a legacy phone system.
No Contracts, Scalable to Your Needs
You can easily add and remove lines and users at any time and pay only for what you need. You’re not locked into long-term contracts that include additional fees for ongoing maintenance or repair costs.
Use Your Professional Business Lines from Anywhere
When employees are working remotely, having them use their personal cell phones for work calls is not ideal. It’s confusing for the customer and limits the ability to transfer a call.
UD Voice can be used from anywhere. Whether employees are in the office, on the road, or working from home, they can make and receive calls from your business lines for a more professional customer experience.
Get a VoIP System That’s 911 Compliant, Plus FREE Phones!
Unbound Digital can set up your Johnson City, Tennessee business with a compliant VoIP phone system that’s affordable and feature-rich. We’ll even throw in free desk phones!
Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Call 423-335-2461 or reach us online.