Two key regulatory deadlines are looming for emergency services in the telecommunications space. Starting on February 16, 2020, enterprises will have to comply with Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act, which aim to improve notifications and include better location information alongside 9-1-1 calls.
Here are answers to some questions regarding these regulations.
What is Kari’s Law, and how will it change what businesses will need to do?
Kari's Law states that you must be able to call 911 directly from any telephone i.e., removing the requirement to dial prefixes such as “8” or “9” to get a trunk access line when making a 911 call. It is targeted at MLTS (multi-line telephone systems) found in many small to large businesses, universities or similar enterprise. The calls must be routed directly to the public service answering point, or PSAP. In the past, many corporations and campuses would route them to their security desk, ask some questions and only then route to 911. Kari's Law also says a company must simultaneously notify someone within the facility, such as by SMS text message, so that they are informed that a 911 call is taking place. IPitomy complies with these requirements.
What is RAY BAUM’s Act?
RAY BAUM’s Act, and specifically section 506, is about providing dispatchable locations. Once again, this is specifically applicable to multi-line telephone systems. It’s not good enough to just provide 500 Main Street any longer. You must provide where that person is, such as floor number, a conference room number or building number. New IPitomy features will provide this functionality.
These seem like obvious things an emergency system should do, why are we still working on this?
A mobile workforce, campus environment, multi story building and multi location organizations must now have specific location information associated with a caller to 911. If they are in a separate building, location or floor, that information should be included in the emergency information for that caller.
Yet when VoIP was young we were already talking about 911 enhancements, why has it taken so long?
In large part, it is due to the fact that the infrastructure within municipalities isn't able to be all IP and deliver this information yet. There are 6,000 PSAPs in the nation, and they are independently run and operated. Next Generation 911 (NG-911) is about going completely IP to the PSAP, and it’s that infrastructure that would have to be in place first. While we’re seeing that happen in spots like Maine, it’s not available in all parts of the country yet. So, until then, companies like IPitomy in cooperation with our carrier partners, have made changes to take pieces of what would be delivered via all IP network and deliver it in a format that PSAPs that aren't NG911-capable yet can still receive.
What do IPitomy’s and the carrier partner’s 911 services look like today?
Our carrier partners provide 911 services nationwide in the US and Canada to both service providers and to enterprises directly. What’s evolved when we talk about 911 is connectivity for any voice over IP call. That can be as simple as name, address, and telephone number and we can take it from there. But what’s more interesting is our E911 Dynamic Location Routing product, which can provide more accurate real-time location information to the PSAP. These features are being designed now to make compliance simple for customers using hosted services and PBX systems with appropriate features enabled.
How does dynamic location routing work?
IPitomy is designing dynamic location routing into our PBX systems. An additional field will be available for the specific second line information required by the regulations. An enterprise just needs to give us its specific location information for each extension or class of service, and then on line 1 they put the specific address, e.g. 500 Main Street, and in line two they provide the accurate location information, e.g. Floor 5, Conference Room 505. When 911 is called, the extended specific location information is sent to the PSAP.
When using SIP trunks and not using an IPitomy PBX, the DID’s that are on separate floors or in other locations are required to have correct address and the extended information included on the online 911 application.
So, what’s the biggest hurdle the industry faces in meeting the regulatory deadlines for Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s act?
Getting the word out. You can call and request a service audit. Call 800IPitomy and we will be happy to walk you through the options.
Should I be concerned about legal liability?
It is now required that every business comply with the new regulations. There exists a level of liability for businesses that did not exist before. There are steps you can take to reduce the liability now. Make sure your phone system complies. Make sure that your emergency calling works properly. If you have old equipment, it is time to look at alternatives.
Should I be concerned about employee safety?
Complying with the regulations adds both protection from liability and improved worker safety environment.
Doing all you can to keep employees safe and reducing liability would make total sense.
Remember, it is the responsibility of the business to comply with the regulations.