What You Need to Know About Kari's Law & Ray Baum's Act

    

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The Ray Baum's Act, which expands upon Kari’s Law, was signed into law on March 6, 2018 and goes into effect on January 6, 2021. This act requires a “dispatchable location” be transmitted when a 911 call is initiated, including calls from multi-line telephone systems.

Properties like hotels and senior living communities must ensure their phone systems are up to date, or they can be subject to fines of up to $10,000.

Kari's Law

In December of 2013, a woman named Kari Hunt was killed in a hotel room in Marshall, Texas by her estranged husband. Hunt instructed her nine-year-old daughter to call 911, but not one of her four attempts went through. The hotel used a multi-line phone system, which required guests to dial “9” before calling outside the hotel, even for 911.

Following the tragedy, Kari's father, Hank Hunt, began working tirelessly with the FCC and Congress to pass Kari’s Law, which was enacted on February 16, 2018. The legislation established a federal, multi-tiered approach to multi-line telephone system 911 requirements.

On August 1, 2019, the FCC adopted a Report and Order pursuant to Kari’s Law. This required all new and updated multi-line telephone systems to enable the public to dial 911 directly, without having to dial additional numbers, such as a “9,” to reach an outside line. It also required the phone system to send a notification to someone on location when a 911 call has been made. These requirements went into effect on February 16, 2020.

This Report and Order also included new requirements from the Ray Baum's Act.

Ray Baum's Act

Ray Baum began his career as a lawyer in the small town of La Grande, Oregon. He served in the Oregon House of Representatives beginning in 1988, and went on to become a Commissioner and Chairman of the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in 2003. He was also the Chair of the Committee on Telecommunications for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and served on the Board of Directors.

In 2016, Baum joined a role in Congress on the Energy and Commerce Committee, working closely with the FCC on telecommunication issues. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2018. To honor him and his notable contributions to the telecommunications industry, Oregon U.S. House Representative Greg Walden arranged to have his name used for Ray Baum's Act. The name is also an acronym that stands for Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services.

Section 506 of the Ray Baum's Act intends to improve the sharing of precise, dispatchable location information when calling 911. According to the FCC, “dispatchable location information refers to the street address of the calling party, as well as information such as room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party.”

By January 6, 2021, as required by law, wired multi-line telephone system devices must establish dispatchable location information requirements for 911 calls from multi-line telephone systems, as well as fixed telephone services, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, mobile text, and Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS).

Wireless devices must also fulfill this requirement – however, they have an additional year to be made compliant.

What does this mean for your property?

Kari’s Law and Ray Baum's Act apply to all multi-line telephone systems commonly found in office buildings, hotels, and senior living facilities, including fixed and non-fixed MLTS and VoIP users. With less than two months left to become compliant, properties need to ensure their systems are up-to-date.

Allbridge premise-based and hosted voice systems are fully compliant with Kari's Law and Ray Baum's Act. 

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