Kari’s Law has made hotels safer for everyone. No matter where you are in the US, when you dial 9-1-1, you should connect with emergency services immediately. The deadline to become compliant with Kari’s Law passed on Feb. 16, 2020. Hotels and other buildings with multiple phone lines are now safer places to be because of it.
Kari’s Law requires that phone systems connect directly with emergency services when 9-1-1 is dialed. It’s as simple as that. Additionally, part of the law set forth that onsite personnel are notified when an emergency call is placed. The law, which was passed in 2018, is named after Kari Hunt, a woman murdered in her Texas hotel room by her estranged husband. When her daughter dialed 9-1-1 four times for help during this incident in 2013, she was unable to get through because of a default setting that required dialing an additional “9” to make outside calls. It’s a tragedy that never needs to be repeated.
Fines for noncompliance
When the American Hotel & Lodging Association surveyed hotel franchises and chains across the nation, it discovered that tens of thousands of hotels would need to come into compliance with Kari’s Law. The law will also apply to any new phone systems made in 2020. Fines for not complying can result in a charge up to $10,000, with an added $500 per day as noncompliance continues.
Test your compliance
To make sure your hotel is compliant, confirm with your phone service provider to make sure direct access to 9-1-1 is being provided reliably. If it’s not, you are not compliant and could face an unwanted tragedy, let alone fines and bad PR. Testing the system from various points within the facility is also recommended. Make sure to notify your local emergency services first, via their non-emergency number, to let them know you will be testing.
Noting the location
Complementing Kari’s Law, Ray Baum’s Act addresses location information during a 9-1-1 call. While home landlines typically report the home address to an emergency dispatcher when a 9-1-1 call is placed, it can be more complicated for hotel facilities and other buildings. When a hotel is compliant with Ray Baum’s Act, 9-1-1 dispatchers receive the location, such as address, but also the floor or room number to identify where exactly the emergency is. Both Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act are governed by the FCC.
Dialing 9-1-1 may be the most important phone call a person makes, and it is up to those in the hospitality sector to make sure hotel stays are safer and in compliance with Kari’s Law.