Multi-line Telephone Systems

Safety is important to everyone; we want to be able to go home to our loved ones at the end of the day. If something goes wrong, emergency response personnel step in to help make it right. Whether people are working in an office building, teaching or learning on campus, or staying at a hotel, they need to be able to contact their local 911 center in case of an emergency to get the help they need. However, this hasn’t always been possible, and lives have been lost because of it.

Schools, offices, hotels, and other businesses which require more than one phone line leverage Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS). Quite often, this is the only phone available when someone nearby has an emergency. By default, many of these phone systems require the caller to dial a prefix such as nine to complete an “outside call,” including 911 dials. These MLTS phones often have various buttons and displays, and most callers, when dialing 911, don’t have experience with emergency situations. In these situations, the rush of adrenaline combined with the hoops needed to place a call outside the building can act as a barrier to people getting ahold of a 911 telecommunicator. Additionally, due to the nature of these phone systems, they tend to be installed in large facilities with multiple rooms like offices or hotel rooms. When a call from the MLTS phone comes into the 911 center, that call could be coming from any one of the multiple rooms in the building; if the phone system cannot provide specific location details to first responders, the caller may be delayed in getting the help they need.  

The Laws

Kari’s Law and the RAY BAUM’S Act are both in effect as of January 6, 2020 and are mandatory for an organization’s MLTS to meet the Federal legal requirements.

Kari’s Law

Kari’s Law requires anyone to be able to dial 9-1-1 directly without dialing “out” on any multi-line telephone system across the nation. Regardless of the type of business, people need to dial 9-1-1 easily.

RAY BAUM’s Act

The RAY BAUM’s Act requires each MLTS to provide a dispatchable location to be transmitted along with 9-1-1 calls to dispatch centers. This Act gives the caller’s street address and offers what floor, unit, and zone of the caller’s location. A compliant phone system allows the dispatcher to provide accurate location details and information to responders, so they can be on scene in a timely and effective manner.

Importance of these laws

Public safety professionals constantly push and innovate to drive better outcomes in emergency situations. But to do that, they need the most amount of information about an incident. Legislation like this is vital because it gives first responders vital information they need to respond to an incident. Current events, like recent active shooter incidents, help drive this issue home. These types of emergencies highlight the need for 911-related legislation; in an active shooter incident at a school, the incident could be taking place anywhere in the building. Students and staff must be able to easily dial out to 911, and first responders must be able to know the exact location of a caller to respond appropriately.