New 911 Laws – A Guide for SIP.US Users

As enterprise communications systems have evolved and advanced, there has emerged a clear need for 911 capabilities to adapt as well. In an effort to ensure that individuals can reach emergency services and that, in turn, first responders can go immediately to the right location, the FCC has recently adopted new regulations that impact businesses with multiple line telephone systems.

This guide will outline those regulations and address how they impact users of SIP.US sip trunks.

Kari’s Law

Congressional Bill H.R. 582 of 2017, better known as Kari’s Law went fully into effect this week. The law was enacted following the murder of Kari Hunt by her estranged husband at a Texas hotel in 2013. Kari’s daughter, Brianna, was present during the commission of the crime and tried repeatedly to dial 911, but she was unable to reach help because she didn’t know that she needed to first dial “9” to get an outside line.

In 2013, hospitality and other commercial phone systems were required to allow callers to place emergency calls without any prefix number or associated code. As of February 16, 2020, that requirement now applies to any multi-line telephone system (MLTS).

In addition, Kari’s law requires that a notification be sent to on-site personnel when a 911 call is placed from an MLTS. The notifications to the appropriate contact can be telephone calls, text messages, visual alerts on a monitor, emails and/or audible alarms.

Section 506 of RAY BAUM’s Act

Ray Baum was a long time public servant who worked closely with the FCC on telecommunications issues. After his passing in 2018, the RAY BAUM act was named in his honor.  It is an acronym that stands for Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services. While the Act is broad and includes many different communication initiatives, it is Section 506 that addresses 911 emergency services for enterprises.

Pursuant to rulemaking by the FCC, Section 506 requires that organizations with MLTS provide the dispatchable location, i.e., street address, floor, room and/or suite number (if applicable) to the public safety answering point with 911 calls.

Section 506 rules go into effect for fixed-line systems on January 6, 2021, and January 6, 2022, for non-fixed multiple-line systems.

Who is Impacted?

Both laws address businesses using multi-line telephone systems (MTLS), including:

  • Companies with offices in multiple locations
  • Campuses–including K-12, universities, and colleges
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals
  • Retail facilities
  • Financial services companies
  • Warehouses

The Costs of Non-Compliance

Any business or agency that does not comply with Kari’s Law could face a fine of up to $10,000 in addition to other penalties, including a daily fine of up to $500 each day they are found not in compliance.

In addition, organizations that fail to comply with any of the requirements of these laws leave themselves open to legal action.

Of course, the biggest cost of non-compliance is the increased risk to your employees, customers, and guests.

What SIP.US Customers Should Do to Comply

There are several steps you can take to make sure your organization is in compliance with each of the three requirements.

Access to 911 Without a Prefix Number

This is a function of your PBX system, so talk to your PBX vendor and make sure it is set up appropriately and work with them to test it

911 Call Notifications

For SIP.US customers that have an MLTS that is incapable of sending a notification or are unsure how to configure a notification, then we can help by sending an email when 911 is dialed. We’ve added a field to the control panel to allow you to update the email address you want to be notified. We will provision that notification address within 2 days.

In the event of a 911 call from one of our e911 enabled lines, a notification will be automatically sent to the email you select, as long as your phone system sends out the Enhanced DID as their Caller ID  Number.

Once the email address is provisioned, you can test the notification by dialing 933. 

Dispatchable Location

Every SIP.US e911 enabled DID has an address associated with it in the control panel. Make sure that all fixed phone locations are up to date with all of the details needed for first responders to find that location.

Compliance with any new regulation can seem like a daunting and onerous task, but in this case, taking these simple steps may save someone’s life. If you have questions, we’re here to help.

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