New Law Impacting Businesses

DELMARVA- A federal law that was signed in 2018 just went into effect last Sunday and will impact businesses and organizations. Kari’s Law requires that any multi-line telephone system allow callers to reach emergency services, without the need to dial a prefix for an outside number first.

“We feel that it is a major step forward,” David Shipley, Director of Wicomico Emergency Services, said.

Shipley said Kari’s Law is a response to an emergency situation at a hotel in Texas where a child tried to call 911 because her father was attacking her mother.
Unfortunately, that child didn’t know she had to dial 9 first and the mom died.

A death that possibly could have been avoided.

“You could imagine somebody’s in a very stressful situation they pick up the phone that adrenaline’s going, heart rates going, they’re calling 911, they need help, and nothings happening,” Lt. Tim Robinson, of Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office, said.

Under Kari’s Law, two things will be required.

One, that every new business allows for 911 to be called without having to dial any other number first; and two, that when 911 is called that someone in the business where the call is coming from is notified.

“Yes it will, make it potentially quicker because if you don’t dial that nine and then 911 nobody’s coming,” Shipley, said.

Shipley said the one downside to the law is that businesses with existing systems won’t have to get a new system, however it does recommend that they change.

“For old systems, what the law suggests is that if you’re going to get systems maintained or upgraded or anything like that consider either changing to that option or notifying your customers they have to dial that number,” Shipley, said.

If you own or manage a business, Department of Emergency Services recommends contacting your phone system vendor to determine if you’re compliant with the law.

Categories: Local News, Maryland