Authorities in Texas are notifying business owners about a new law requiring owners of multi-line telephone systems in Texas to provide direct dial access to 9-1-1 without having to dial an additional digit such as “9” to access an outside line. Providers of multi-line telephone systems have until September 1, 2016 to comply with the law. “Kari’s Law”, which requires direct access to 9-1-1 was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in May, 2015. On March 1, 2016 the Commission on State Emergency Communication adopted the rule to implement the rule.
The law represents a culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the murder of Kari Hunt in a motel room in Marshall, TX whow was attacked by her estranged husband. Kari’s 9 year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help 4 times from the motel room phone. Unfortunately, the call never went through, because she did not know to first dial “9” for an outbound line before dialing 9-1-1. Tragically, Kari died before help could arrive.
Owners of Multi-line phone systems must do their diligence and provide direct access to 9-1-1 and comply with the law. You will need to contact the provider of your phone system to see if yours is in compliance. If the phone cannot be brought into compliance you must apply for a waiver which will give you a year to become compliant.
For more information on the history of Kari’s Law, the requirements to comply or to request a waiver, visit www.texas911.org/karislaw.