“Kari’s Law” Now the Law of the Land
Avaya Holdings Corp., a global market leader in contact center and unified communications solutions as well as call taking solutions for public safety communication centers, praised the United States Congress for passing “The Kari’s Law Act of 2017” which requires direct dial access to 9-1-1 services from all devices. Emergency 9-1-1 services commenced in this country fifty years ago on February 16, when the first 9-1-1 call was placed in Halevyille, Alabama. With the signing of Kari’s Law on the anniversary date of that call, these services will now be available directly across all devices.
The campaign to pass Kari’s Law began in December 2013, when the namesake of the bill, Kari Hunt was murdered by her estranged husband in a hotel room in Marshall, Texas. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter attempted to dial 9-1-1 but was unable to reach emergency resources because the multi-line phone required a “9” to be dialed for an outside line. Kari’s father, Hank Hunt made a promise to granddaughter that this would never happen to another child. He worked tirelessly over the last four years to get laws passed at both the state and federal levels.
Since the tragic incident, Avaya took up advocacy for direct dial 9-1-1 from multiline telephone systems (MLTS), supporting Mr. Hunt on his mission to change the dialing practices that were no longer necessary, and which contributed to the tragedy for his family. Advocacy included education and testimony to legislative and standards organizations here in the United States as well as across the globe. Avaya raised awareness of new and advanced business practices and technologies now available on virtually all modern communications systems that eliminate the requirement for access codes that have historically complicated emergency calling. As a result, laws similar to Kari’s Law were passed in Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Tennessee, and Maine.
“From the beginning, Avaya was the first company dedicated to changing how various states implement 9-1-1 services,” said Hank Hunt, father of Kari Hunt. “I cannot thank Avaya enough for its unwavering leadership, working side-by-side with me to drive this legislation forward. I also want to thank the 612,000 supporters for their signatures on Change.org where this initiative began four years ago, soon after Kari’s passing. Because of all these efforts, I know that Kari’s death was not in vain.”
Kari’s Law requires the configuration allowing users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix. Separate versions of the bill were initially passed in 2017 in the House and Senate. Committees then worked to combine the two versions into a single bill H.R. 582.
“Hank and his family’s loss have deeply affected us. We are glad to have been able to help Hank keep his promise to his granddaughter,” said Jim Chirico, president and chief executive officer, Avaya. “The technology fix was available, we just needed to drive public awareness. Direct access to emergency services has always been a core capability of Avaya communications platforms and so teaming up with Mr. Hunt to improve education and access to emergency services was something we took up immediately. Thanks to his tireless efforts, we got it done.”
“Today represents a giant step to help ensure that everyone in the U.S., regardless of location or device, can simply dial 9-1-1 to engage emergency assistance,” said Jean Turgeon, vice president and Chief Technologist, Digital Transformation and Evangelists at Avaya. “Our public safety solutions teams will be dedicated to helping roll out ‘Kari’s Law’ across all 50 states. The law and the technology fixes have and will continue to save lives.”
Avaya offers mission-critical services in a resilient, reliable and secure environment to public safety organizations. The company is transforming how first responders save lives. Avaya is helping replace the many legacy first responder systems developed and deployed in the 1960s and 1970s, better connecting the more than 6,000 9-1-1 centers across the United States.
Avaya enables the mission-critical, real-time communication applications of the world's most important operations. As a global leader in delivering superior communications experiences, Avaya provides the most complete portfolio of software and services for contact center and unified communications -- offered on premises, in the cloud, or as a hybrid. Today's digital world requires communications enablement, and no other company is better positioned to do this than Avaya. For more information, please visit www.avaya.com.