Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act: What are they and how do they impact your business?

In February 2020, Kari’s Law went into effect.  As of January 2022, Ray Baum’s Act started to be enforced. While both laws directly impact all businesses in different industries, many do not know what they mean. It is important to know whether your business is in compliance or not with these laws.

Kari’s Law

This law was named in honor of Kari Hunt, who was attacked and killed by her estranged husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas in 2013. Ms. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 for help four times from the motel room phone, as her mother had taught her to do. Tragically, the call never went through because she did not know that the hotel’s phone system required dialing “9” for an outbound line before dialing 911. This law was signed on February 16, 2018, and officially went into effect on February 16, 2020. The new FCC rules require the implementation of direct 911 dialing and on-site notification capabilities in multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) (which encapsulates both circuit-switched and IP-based/cloud serviced phone systems). This means that when a 911 call is placed on an MLTS, the system must be configured to notify a “central location” (on-site or off-site) where someone is likely to see/hear the notification. This law will apply to manufacturers, sellers, lessors, and any business that installs manages, or operates an MLTS.

Ray Baum’s Act

On March 23, 2018, the President signed the RAY BAUM’S Act into law. This act was named in honor of Ray Baum but is also an acronym that stands for Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services. This act requires that the dispatchable location is conveyed with a 911 call, regardless of the technological platform used which includes calls from multi-line telephone systems (MLTS). This act defines “dispatchable location” as the street address of the calling party, and additional information such as a room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party. This law didn’t go into effect until January 6, 2021, for all fixed MLTS, including fixed interconnected VoIP, fixed telephony, and fixed Telephone Relay Services.  This act has come to light in an effort to emphasize the importance of sharing precise location information to emergency services when someone dials 911. This in turn gives first responders valuable information so they can more accurately pinpoint the exact location where the emergency is occurring.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline and 988

988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While some areas may be currently able to connect to the Lifeline by dialing 988, this dialing code will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022. When people call, text, or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary. The current Lifeline phone number (1-800-273-8255) will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched nationally.

How can CREG Systems Help?

CREG Systems takes pride in maintaining compliance. We provide emergency notification solutions for a wide variety of businesses—from federal, state, and local agencies to single-site businesses, and healthcare organizations. We’ve helped many facilities move from traditional phone systems to more sophisticated communications that ensure accurate notification of critical information on the right communications device to assist in an emergency.  Our emergency notification solutions can help your organization meet and exceed the requirements of Kari’s Law and Section 506 of Ray Baum’s act.