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Kari’s Law is in Effect. Is Your Phone System Compliant?

By Laura Armbruster on September 1, 2016 in Customer Service, Phone Systems

Today the State of Texas implemented Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 771A, known as Kari’s Law, which requires telephone systems that provide outbound dialing capacity to be configured to provide direct access to 9-1-1 service, and in instances where no hardware changes are necessary, to provide notification of a 9-1-1 call to a central location on the site of the residential or business facility. It is important to note that mandatory compliance begins September 1, 2016.

What Is the Impact for You?

If your phone systems requires that you dial a digit to get an outside line (such as 9), press a line button or PBX access code and you did not file for an extension with the State of Texas, that phone system in not in compliance with the new law. Therefore, it is imperative that you take the following steps:

  1. Contact a telecom services provider immediately to make adjustments to your phone system to be in compliance. If you do not have a service provider, or feel you need to receive better service, feel free to contact SJS Communications.
  2. Ensure that adjustments are made to your existing phone system that allow for anyone to dial 9-1-1 without doing anything more than picking up the handset and dialing.
  3. Make sure that in addition to the direct dial feature, another phone is configured to be notified when 9-1-1 is dialed.

It is critical for the safety of employees and guests to ensure compliance with Kari’s Law,” said Jamie Tetts. “Part of that is to strategically think about the other lines that require notification. For example, in our office in addition to notifying me, the phones that are prominent to the front and rear exits will also receive a notification of a 9-1-1 call to help us expedite our response.

Background on Kari’s Law

On May 15, 2105, Governor Abbot signed SBB788. The law represents the culmination of efforts in the aftermath of the murder of Kari Hunt Dunn 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 outside line before dialing 9-1-1.

Did You Receive an Extension from the State?

If you filed for an extension prior to September 1, and have received a waiver stating that you made a good faith effort to be in compliance but could not get your phone system up to date in time, then you must do the following:

  1. Place an instructional sticker immediately adjacent to each non-compliant telephone handset, that must show how to access 9-1-1.
  2. The sticker must be 16-point boldface type, in a contrasting color using a font that is easily readable.
  3. The sticker must be written in English and Spanish.

If You Need to Get Compliant

SJS Communications is a telecommunications service provider specializing in Samsung systems, as well as hosted VoIP. If your phone system is not in compliance with this important, mandatory code, please contact us to schedule a service call so we can support you in your safety and compliance initiatives.


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