What You Need to Know About E911 Compliance

Posted by Adam Born + Mark Haas on Jun 15, 2021 10:00:00 AM

We’ve been dialing 911 for emergencies since 1968. So 911 calling wouldn’t appear to be a hot topic among business and technology professionals today.

But it is. New legal changes are coming, and leaders must plan to be compliant for their offices and remote workers. Some employees will return to the office, while others will continue to work from home. It will be important to identify their location in cases of emergencies, no matter where they are or where they go.

The first step is education. Businesses must be aware of a number of new E911 laws. Kari’s Law requires anyone installing, managing or operating multi-line telephone systems to configure the systems so a person can directly initiate a 911 call. For instance: No dialing “9” just to get an outside line anymore for an emergency call. It also works to notify people in the building and company that emergency responders are on the way, helping them get to the emergency faster.

Another law, RAY BAUM’s Act, requires dispatchable location information from all 911 calls to the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point), whether that’s identifying a caller’s location based on the floor of the building, the room inside that floor or even zooming down to the cubicle from which the person is calling. Ray Baum was a lawyer who served on the board of directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). By 2022, organizations must be responsible for every device whether it’s inside or outside the enterprise.

Until recently, the Federal Communications Commission had sidestepped the E911 issue and left regulation up to the states; as a result 23 states adopted legislation around 911—rules that vary greatly. Many of those regulations still exist, and companies must abide by both federal and state laws. Compliance is especially challenging for businesses that span various locations across the United States.

It’s important for organizations to understand each of these laws and how they apply to their businesses, and to also understand how to be in compliance with existing technology and any new technology upgrades.

Company leaders must define what “dispatchable location” means under the Ray Baum Act and under any relevant state regulations. Decide how your legal team wants to define that location: whether it’s the building location, the floor location, the cubicle location or more. Sit down with your legal advisor and understand what that definition will be.


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Topics: Unified Communications, E911