Essential phone system compliance with the latest 911 laws
In late July 2022, 101VOICE hosted a webinar to share some of the latest developments in the telecoms space related to emergency response services for K12 campuses. Chief among these are Next-Generation 911 services that all telephone systems must support because of recent legislation.
Our informative webinar dealt with what these are, why they came about and emphasized that 101VOICE can assist with implementing compliance solutions. In this blog, we have summarized some of the highlights from the webinar. And for those who missed out, we are hosting another webinar in two weeks! Please click here to register for the upcoming webinar.
The new regulations are all intended to increase the effectiveness of the 911 services. They do this by providing operators with the exact information they need to effectively deploy emergency response, ensuring callers get the help needed quickly, no matter where they are calling from or what device they’re using.
Compliance with Kari’s Law
The first piece of legislation to consider is Kari’s Law. In 2013, Kari Hunt was killed by her estranged husband while staying at a Texas hotel because her nine-year-old daughter did not know to dial nine to reach an outside line before dialing 911. This was common with multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) at the time, so Kari’s daughter could not contact emergency response in time to save her mother.
Due to this tragedy, Kari’s relatives petitioned the FCC to create a new law: to make 911 accessible without dialling anything else on an MLTS, like those used in hotels, large corporations, and educational institutions. That’s what Kari’s Law achieved, and as of February 2020, all MLTS systems had to comply.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kari’s Law was sidelined as more pressing concerns grabbed the US’s attention. As a result, many organizations are not compliant, even today. Of course, this is not the only piece of legislation educational institutions has to concern themselves with.
More about RAY BAUM’s Act
During the webinar, our CEO, Arman Eghbali, dove a little deeper into the second piece of legislation that came into effect recently; RAY BAUM’s Act. This legislation requires that all 911 calls automatically provide the operator with enough information to determine a dispatchable location without relying on the caller.
The trick here is that all devices that connect to an MLTS – whether wired, wireless, on-premise, or remote – must be enabled with this functionality to comply with the capabilities of the Enhanced 911 (E911) system. This is important as the telecoms landscape has greatly changed in the last two decades. Not only are there new types of phones (laptop softphones, VoIP phones, mobile devices and more), but over 80% of the 240 million 911 calls made every year are made from mobile devices. The idea of the traditional wired desk phone is all but gone in 2022, and these new phone types have made it more challenging to pinpoint 911 callers.
Ray Baum, a lawyer and congressman, was determined to address these challenges, and thanks to him, the Act is real and bears his name. The Act intends to equip emergency response services with the tools they need to get first responders to where they are needed as fast as possible. It does this by ensuring that civilian telephone systems are equipped to provide critical caller location information that feeds directly into the Enhanced 911 and Next-Generation 911 systems.
E911 compliance is especially important in schools
Arman went on to say that every year, more than 5,900 emergency calls originate from educational institutes in the US, including K-12 and college campuses. Some are prank calls, but the vast majority are serious, covering everything from active shooter situations to dire medical emergencies that need immediate attention.
These institutions tend to be large, too, which can make finding 911 callers difficult, if not impossible, without technological assistance. This is precisely why RAY BAUM’S Act exists.
The importance of exact location data in an emergency
Thanks to service providers like 101VOICE, modern MLTS systems can furnish 911 operators with the exact location of the caller, down to the nearest 50 feet, when they are outfitted to interface with a Next-Generation 911 system. Even in a large campus and other sprawling locations, caller locations can be pinpointed down to the exact room, building, and floor they are calling from, even when calling from a mobile device.
Thanks to 101VOICE’s ability to ringfence important areas – like an entire school campus, including extracurricular activity areas, on-premise authorities inside ringfenced areas can be automatically alerted through calls, SMS, and emails when a 911 call is placed, giving them knowledge of the event and allowing them to direct first responders when they first arrive on the scene.
Compliance saves lives
Complying with these new laws can seem onerous, but it’s all for the greater good. By making 911 services more effective, emergency preparedness skyrockets, emergency response times improve, and ultimately, lives are saved.
As we mentioned during our webinar, 101VOICE is ready, willing, and able to assist any organization that desires to upgrade their MLTS system with Next-Generation 911 and E911 capabilities to comply with the abovementioned laws. We have years of experience in the cloud telephony space, understand the new legislative requirements, and can help with everything from upgrading existing systems to implementing brand-new, fully compliant solutions. Get in touch today to improve your campus’ safety with E911 compliance solutions.