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Law Honoring Slain Mother Marks Fifth Year

September 29th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

Public Safety Answer Points, locally the Allegany County Joint Communications Center staff have been working with local government and businesses to ensure that they are compliant with an updated law from 2015, requiring phone lines to connect directly to a 9-1-1 center.


Kari’s Law, signed in 2015 by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan requires buildings with multi-line phone systems to give the caller the ability to dial 9-1-1 from any phone without dialing any additional digit, prefix or postfix, most commonly the number “9”.  The law only applies to dialing 9-1-1 and does not apply to other outgoing calls, where callers may still be required to use the number “9” as a pre or post-fix.


“On October 1, just five years after the original introduction in Maryland, this law will progress again and require county and municipalities to comply,” Allegany County Department of Emergency Services Deputy Director Roger Bennett said. “This is such an important topic not only for locations with phone systems, but for the public to know.”


Bennett continued if (you) would be at your place of employment or on vacation and need to call an ambulance, a caller can simply pick-up the phone and dial 9-1-1, you don’t have to know the specific prefix for the location, as they change from place-to-place inside of a building with a multi-line phone system.


The law is named in honor of Kari Hunt who was killed by her husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas in 2013. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help several times from the motel room, according to the Federal Communications Commission. The calls never went through because she didn’t know that the motel’s phone system required dialing “9” for an outbound line before dialing 9-1-1.


“Having the ability for a caller to receive critical life saving information within seconds of an emergency is crucial,” Bennett said.  “If someone goes into cardiac arrest or our communications personnel need to provide other life saving, pre-arrival information, we need to get that call as soon as possible.”