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On February 16, 2018, the President signed into law Kari’s Law Act of 2017—making it the law of the land. Kari’s Law amends the original Telecommunications Act of 1934 and the 1996 overhaul that focused on promoting competition and reducing expensive regulations. What Kari’s Law does is transform an entire industry so that in the United States, at least, public safety is built into every aspect of a telephone system. It should be easy to call for help. With Kari’s Law, it will be.
As is often the case, laws are made in response to situations—in this case, a tragedy that took place in 2013. When the nine-year-old daughter of Kari Hunt Dunn repeatedly tried to call 9-1-1 from a hotel room, as she was taught to do, after her mother was attacked by her estranged husband, she couldn’t get through because the hotel’s phone system required callers to first dial “9” to get an outside line.
After the death of his daughter, Kari’s father, Hank Hunt, took to social media and crowdfunding to bring the need for a uniform 9-1-1 system to the U.S. Congress. After five years of lobbying and education, the U.S. Senate passed the House version of the law, officially known as H.R. 582.
Essentially, Kari’s law makes it illegal for businesses to manufacture or import for use in the USA any multi-line telephone unless it is pre-configured to allow users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any prefixes, digits, area codes or trunk access codes such as the digit “9”. Businesses, the law goes on to state, “are prohibited from installing, managing, or operating multi-line telephone systems without such a direct 9-1-1- call configuration.”
Furthermore, the law requires businesses that install, manage, or operate such systems for use in the United States to “configure the systems to provide a notification to a central location at the facility where the system is installed, or to another person or organization regardless of location, if the system is able to be so configured without an improvement to the hardware or software.”
While aspects of this law may seem burdensome for some companies, the good news is that, whether or not you are a current customer, Continuant can take care of everything you need to get into compliance:
The benefits of working with us is that we can and will talk to you, even though your OEM maintenance has expired. In addition, we can take care of multiple OEMs, so you only have to work with one company (as opposed to working with each individual OEM representative). Because we are not selling any products—just service—you do not have to concern yourself about feeling pressured.
We applaud the people who worked tirelessly in the interest of public safety to get this law passed. We are aware that the passage of Kari’s Law may concern companies who fear being out of compliance by the deadline. But as always, we are here to help.
Scott Graham was one of the four original employees of Continuant’s predecessor company, Telecom Labs Inc. (TLI), joining in 1996 as Operations Manager. Prior to joining TLI, Graham was an industrial engineer at Cascade Corporation in Portland, Oregon; and also worked for Frametech Inc. of Honolulu as an industrial...