Kari’s Law Introduced in the Senate, Making ‘911’ Safer for Hotels and Office Buildings

Last week, Avaya celebrated the 48th anniversary of America’s first 911 call by announcing its support of Kari’s Law (S. 2553), a new Senate bill introduced earlier this month designed to improve 911 services for multiline phone systems, most commonly found in hotels and office buildings.

The bill would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require phone vendors and individual buildings to make sure people could connect directly with emergency services without having to press ‘1’ or ‘9’ first. The bill would also add two new requirements—outgoing ‘911’ calls would connect directly to emergency services without local interference, while also notifying onsite personnel that a ‘911’ call was made.

As an industry leader in 911 communications technology, Avaya has played a leading role in clearing the path for Kari’s Law at the federal level, working with the FCC and various members of Congress to advocate for this important, life-saving bill.

Kari’s Law is named in honor of Kari Hunt, who was killed by her estranged husband in late 2013 at a motel in Northeast Texas. One of Hunt’s children tried repeatedly to dial ‘911’ from the motel room’s phone, but wasn’t able to get through—the motel required people to dial ‘9’ to get an outside line.

“When a 9-year-old child is brave, mature and determined enough to call 911 in an emergency, she should be answered,” said Kari’s father, Hank Hunt. “Kari’s Law has been successful at every juncture in the past two years because of the help and involvement of Avaya. To have an ally such as Avaya, in a goal such as this, is a sure winner.

“The caring and thoughtful gestures given to us from Avaya are scarce attributes in a corporation. The knowledge and experience Avaya brings to the table is reassuring, and the confidence that we have knowing this kind of institution is behind us is comforting.”

In the three years since Kari Hunt’s death, Mark Fletcher, Avaya’s Chief Architect for Worldwide Public Safety Solutions, has spearheaded the company’s work around Kari’s Law. Check out his recent podcast interview with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on the new bill. If you’d like to get involved, sign the online petition for Kari’s Law, which has more than half a million supporters to date.

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