9-1-1 Requirements for Multi-Line Phone Systems

What would happen if someone at your business needed to dial 9-1-1 for any reason? How would first responders know exactly where to go to quickly assist the individual who made the call? Obviously, your business address would be a good place to start. However, if your business is in a building with multiple floors and rooms or your property covers a large area, finding the caller could take precious minutes. Dialing 9-1-1 from a multi-line phone system has the potential to complicate matters further, since the call could originate from any location within your property.

In 2018, the President signed into law two statutes designed to standardize the functionality of dialing 9-1-1 in businesses using multi-line telephone systems. These two laws are known as Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act.

 

911 requirements for multiline phone systems

 

The Basics of Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act

Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act join the ranks of Enhanced 9-1-1 in helping to pinpoint the location of individuals dialing 9-1-1 for assistance.

Kari’s Law states that every phone (including VoIP softphones) that can dial into the public switch telephone network must be able to dial 9-1-1 without requiring the user to dial a prefix to reach an outside line. Many multi-line phone systems require the user to dial “9” or similar to reach an outside line, and this law allows the user to directly reach 9-1-1 dispatch. Additionally, Kari’s Law requires notification of front desk, security, and/or administrative personnel within the business any time a 9-1-1 call is made from that location.

Ray Baum’s Act requires all 9-1-1 calls to have a dispatchable location. This means that a 9-1-1 call must be pinpointed not just to an address but to a specific location within that address, such as the floor, suite, room number, or other identifying feature of that location. This allows emergency personnel to more quickly locate and assist the individual who dialed 9-1-1.

Is Your Phone System in Compliance?

Over the next 18 months, businesses using multi-line phone systems must install or upgrade their phone systems to comply with these two laws. The deadlines for compliance vary depending on the type(s) of devices in service at a business.

The FCC recognizes three (3) types of devices with each having its own deadline:
Fixed Phones are hardphones that are static in an environment. Deadline is January 6, 2021.
Remote are off-premise phones such as those for remote office locations or people working from home. Deadline is January 6, 2022.
Non-Fixed are those that move in an environment such as softphones or hardphones that move in the environment. Deadline is January 6, 2022.

Not only must your equipment meet these guidelines, your business must also have protocols in place to notify certain individuals within your organization.

If your business phone system cannot meet these new regulations, now is a good time to explore your options, well ahead of these deadlines. Lieberman Technologies can help you assess your phone system needs and customize a solution for your business. We can also help guide you in establishing appropriate protocols in the event a 9-1-1 call is made from your business.

Please contact us to begin the process of standardizing 9-1-1 functionality in your business.