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Aug 22

New law requires direct access to 9-1-1

Posted on August 22, 2016 at 3:42 PM by Katie Stamy

Everyone is taught at a young age to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. However what many people don’t know is that simply dialing 9-1-1 does not always work from every phone. 

In December 2013, Kari Hunt was murdered in a motel room in Marshall, Texas, as her 9-year-old daughter desperately called 9-1-1 four times to no avail. Her calls didn’t go through because the hotel had a multi-line phone system (MLTS) that required users to dial a ‘9’ before calling an outside line. 

On May 15, 2015, Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill, approving of Kari’s Law, making it a requirement for all businesses with MLTS to ensure their phone systems are capable of dialing 9-1-1 without a ‘9’ or another number before. On March 1, 2016, the Commission on State Emergency Communications adopted the law, and it will be effective throughout Texas starting September 1. 

Tragedies such as this are preventable, which is why Kari’s Law is so important, said Webster Emergency Management Coordinator Joe Ferro. For more information on Kari’s Law, visit
Texas911.org/KarisLaw.