Calvert Public Safety Reminds Multi-line Telephone System Users to Ensure Phones Allow Direct Access to 911

January 31, 2023

The Calvert County Department of Public Safety, Emergency Communications Division, reminds residents and business owners to ensure that their multi-line telephone systems provide direct access to 911, without requiring an individual to dial any other numbers first, as required by state and federal law.

Multi-line telephone systems are typically found in office buildings, campuses, hotels and other enterprises.

Dubbed “Kari’s Law,” the law is named in honor of Kari Hunt, who was murdered by her estranged husband in a Texas motel room in December 2013. Her 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 four times, but was unable to reach emergency services because she did not know the motel phone required “9” to be dialed to reach an outside line.

Gov. Larry Hogan enacted Kari’s Law in 2015 for the state of Maryland. The law was enacted by Congress in 2018.

Businesses and organizations using a multi-line telephone system should contact their provider to find out how their system is set up and to ask for direct dialing of 911 without having to dial a prefix or access code first.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules require any new system to be pre-configured to support direct dialing of 911; however these rules apply only to those that were manufactured, imported, offered for first sale or lease, or installed after Feb. 16, 2020.