On Feb 16, 2020, the federal version of Kari’s law went into effect. It’s a complicated but important topic, and justifies a comprehensive treatment in this update, something Sangoma is uniquely qualified to offer.
The new law applies to business phone systems manufactured, imported, offered for sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after February 16, 2020. A key requirement of Kari’s law is to ensure that persons in distress can reach a PSAP (public safety answering point) by dialing 911, even from a multi-line telephone system (such as exists in a typical business or hotel) that might normally need to dial a prefix such as a 1 or a 9 to get to an outside line.
The purpose of the regulation is to prevent a tragedies like the 2013 death of Kari Hunt that ultimately led to the federal version of Kari’s Law.
Moving forward, regardless of their location in the U.S. or where they are dialing from, persons will be able to immediately connect with emergency responders by dialing 911, with no need to dial a prefix such as 1 or 9. Just dialing 911 from a business phone system, like you would from a house phone or a mobile phone, would get the caller to a PSAP.
Toshiba CIX and IPedge systems are the systems that can be setup for Kari’s Law, the Strata DK systems cannot.
Unitel always tests 911 calls from the phone system at the time of installation to ensure 911 goes through. If any changes were made to the line side between the install and now there is a chance that 911 may not operate as intended. It is recommended to test once a year to make sure that 911 calls operate properly.
Steps to take when testing 911:
1. Determine where 911 calls should route. Most cities and towns send 911 to the county sheriff, but there are various municipalities that route 911 to their local police department. If you are unsure, contact the local police department non-emergency line and ask them.
2. Once you determine where the 911 calls route, CALL THEM FIRST on their non-emergency number to notify them you would like to do a test. It’s important to let the 911 dispatch know you are wanting to make a test call, as they make a note in their system. They may also tell you to call back at another time as they are in the middle of an incident that requires their attention.
3. Once you have the go-ahead from dispatch, dial 911 from your system. You should only dial 911 from your phone for it to go through, not 9-911. If the call does not go through notify Unitel so we can look at the programming to determine the reason the call did not go through. ALSO, call back the non-emergency number to notify them that the call did not go through and the phone vendor will be looking into it. Unitel will look at the programming and then test it after making the appropriate changes.
4. When talking to dispatch verify business name, address, and phone number that comes up in their system. This is important as the address sent will tell the dispatchers where to send emergency crews to. If any information is wrong contact your service provider to correct any information. After the change is made it can take up to 72 hours for the changes to propagate to the emergency dispatchers, but the service provider should tell you that on your call.
5. Once your information is verified, let them know you are done making test calls. This is important so they can clear out their note on their system that your location is in test mode and they will know the next 911 call from your location is an actual emergency.