911: A Look Back and a Look Forward

December 11, 2018 – 9:45 am 

By Lisa M. Fowlkes | Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

There is no higher priority at the FCC than promoting reliable 911 service.  As we approach the end of 2018, I thought I’d recap our work this year to strengthen emergency calling and highlight some of our next steps for 2019.

Improving 911 Calling from Multi-Line Telephone Systems

The year began with a national focus on 911: February marked the 50th anniversary of the first 911 call, and the President signed two new laws to improve emergency calling.  The FCC then began work to implement these statutes.

First, Kari’s Law requires multi-line telephone systems—which commonly serve hotels, office buildings, and campuses—to enable users to dial 911 directly, without having to dial a prefix (such as a “9”) to reach an outside line.  Kari’s Law also requires multi-line telephone systems to provide notification, such as to a front desk or security office, when a 911 call is made in order to facilitate building entry by first responders.  In September, the FCC proposed rules to provide clarity and specificity to these statutory requirements so that companies can effectively meet their obligations. Our work on this continues.


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