Are you keeping your staff and customers safe with E911 compliance?

Whether you have a private office or are running a business that welcomes guests and customers, user-friendly tools for emergency communications benefit everyone’s safety. In this Tech Tip, we’ll share details about Enhanced 911 (E911) requirements, Kari’s Law, and RAY BAUM’S Act compliance.

What is E911?

We are all taught to dial 9-1-1 if we encounter an emergency or disaster situation. With advancements in communications technology like wireless phones and VoIP systems, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is implementing enhanced 911 services that integrate nationwide communication for emergency services with multi-line and wireless phone systems. 

Why is E911 Service Important?

With E911, your phone number and your location are automatically reported to 911 dispatchers for fast and effective emergency help when you dial 9-1-1. Organizations and companies need to make sure their phone systems are updated and compliant with E911. 

Let’s talk about the most recent E911 federal law compliance you should know — Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act.

What is Kari’s Law?

Kari’s Law is a federal law in response to the death of Kari Hunt, who was killed in a motel room in 2013. At the time, Ms. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 for help four times from the motel’s room phone, but the calls never went through because the motel’s phone system required first dialing “9” for outbound calls.

To prevent other similar tragedies, Kari’s Law requires multi-line telephone systems to have direct 911 dialing and notification capabilities. Your organization or company might use a multi-line telephone system, which is typically found in office buildings, campuses, and hotels. In addition to eliminating any required prefix for outbound emergency calls, Kari’s Law also mandates that a designated contact within the establishment is notified when someone makes a 911 call with their multi-line telephone system. 

Kari’s Law is an essential federal mandate and one of the e911 requirements helping to keep your staff and customers safe. Next, we will talk about the equally important RAY BAUM’S Act.

What is RAY BAUM’S Act

RAY BAUM’S Act stands for Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act. When an emergency call is dialed, this act requires the caller’s dispatchable location to be automatically provided to the public safety officer, regardless of the technology used. The dispatchable location includes a street address and other helpful information like floor, suite, or apartment number, to help public safety officers locate the caller within a building to deliver emergency services. 

Like Kari’s Law, RAY BAUM’S Act also applies to fixed multi-line telephone systems. It is also mandated for interconnected VoIP, telephony, telephony relay services, and non-fixed applications such as softphone platforms. The deadline for all business and public venues with multi-line telephone systems to comply with RAY BAUM’S Act is approaching quickly on January 6, 2022!

How Can You Ensure Your Organization or Business is Compliant with RAY BAUM’S Act?

When your establishment uses a fixed multi-line telephone system, every connected device must be updated with a dispatchable location. Phone extensions are a hurdle to consider during the multi-line telephone system update. The extension value will never pass outside the phone system when a call uses an extension and doesn’t have a unique direct inward dialing setup. This means when an emergency call is dropped from a non-compliant phone system, the public safety officers can’t call back. 

For non-fixed VoIP phone systems, compliance to RAY BAUM’S Act requires dynamic location routing and additional provisioned network elements like WiFi access points or ports with a dispatchable location. When the caller attaches to one of the provisioned network elements, their softphone application will capture the updated dispatchable location information. 

Your Next Step with E911 Compliance

Check with your current phone provider if you aren’t sure whether your business phone system is compliant with Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act. 

Both Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’S Act are forward-looking, which means they only apply to multi-line telephone systems or VoIP business phone systems manufactured, imported, sold, leased, or installed after February 16, 2020. Therefore, if you are switching business phone systems, remember to ask the business phone provider to set up the system for compliance. 

You can also reach out to a professional managed IT and business phone system provider like FSA Consulting to do a thorough office technology assessment and improvement. We always recommend organizations and businesses comply with all federal law and state regulations to keep their staff and customers safe and secure.  

Some additional resources: