Kari’s Law – Direct access to 9-1-1 service for multi-line telephone 911systems in Texas

For a multi-line telephone system that provides outbound dialing, Kari’s Law requires direct access to 9-1-1 service. Users shouldn’t have to first dial an initial number, digit, prefix or other access number or code before dialing 9-1-1. On March 1, 2016 the Commission on State Emergency Communications adopted Rule 251.16 (Direct Access to 9-1-1 Service) to implement Kari’s Law.  This law applies to all multi-line telephone systems, whether analog, digital, or VOIP.

Background on Kari’s Law

On May 15, 2015, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 788 (Kari’s Law). The law represents the culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the murder of Kari Hunt in a motel room in Marshall, Texas. Ms. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help four times from the motel room phone. The call never went through because she did not know to first dial “9” for an outbound line before dialing “9-1-1.” On March 1, 2016, Commission on State Emergency Communications Rule 251.16 (Direct Access to 9-1-1 Service) adopted to implement Kari’s Law went into effect.

E911 Considerations & Testing

Not only should your users be able to call 911 directly from their phone without having to dial a 9 or other code, all users should be able to dial 911 and be directed to the correct 911 PSAP (dispatch center) for their physical address.  This is particularly difficult with campus locations or with phone systems supporting multiple locations or remote users.

Each DID should have an E911 address associated with it.  In addition, your PBX should have outgoing call rules that send the DID (or the main number/phone numbers associated with that particular physical address).  Make sure your telecom provider has an updated list of your DIDs/phone numbers with the correct physical address associated with each number.

To test your phone system’s 911 preparedness, contact your local 911 authority (click HERE to look up your local 911 authority).  When you make your test calls, make sure to notify the dispatcher that you are making a test call, and then gather the following information from the dispatcher:  address read-back and ask if your call was connected to the National call center, regional or local PSAP.

Contact The Fulcrum Group Help Desk if you need help configuring or testing your Digium Switchvox PBX.  If you need further assistance, please check out our Contact Us page.