Working remotely in the safety of our homes has become the new business normal. As organizations find new ways to ease team communication and collaboration with cloud-based platforms, 911 connectivity remains a necessity for all. Your clients may wonder what are the applicable Enhanced 911 (E911) requirements for remote users. Read on to learn more about the key elements that you can use as a checklist to ensure your enterprise voice offering is a comprehensive and robust solution that keeps your clients and their workforce safe while keeping them in compliance with E911 regulations.
Organizations who operate on-premises, hosted or hybrid Multi-line Telephone Systems (MLTS) are required to fulfill their federal E911 regulatory obligations and meet state requirements where applicable.
Kari’s Law became effective on February 16, 2020. Enterprises with MLTS that were brought into use after February 16, 2020 must comply with two requirements of this federal law and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) rules implementing Kari’s Law:
1. Permit users to directly initiate a call to 911 without dialing any prefix, suffix or trunk access code
2. Provide a notification to a central location whenever a 911 call is made from the system, if it can be done without an improvement to the system’s hardware or software
The FCC’s rules implementing Section 506 of RAY BAUM’S Act require those same enterprises to convey a dispatchable location to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) with calls to 911. MLTS managers and operators with fixed devices have until January 6, 2021 to comply while those with non-fixed devices have until January 6, 2022.
Additionally, 24 states within the United States have their own set of E911 regulations with various requirements such as square footage limitations for identifying caller locations, notification to a central point and elimination of dialing access codes.
The first step to meeting the above regulations is investing in an E911 solution that allows organizations to locate and manage user locations. E911 management systems enable enterprises to track the location of users calling 911 from a soft client or desk phone, whether remote or at the office. Users have their location automatically updated as they move around the office or go to a known remote location. Users are prompted to enter their location on their device when a new remote location is detected.
When a 911 call is made, the call is delivered and routed to the appropriate PSAP with dispatchable location information. This is a critical element since remote and at-home workers need to be connected to the PSAP that is closest to them and not the PSAP that is closest to the enterprise. Most importantly, dispatchable location information is routed with a 911 call to help reduce response times, giving first responders a simpler way to determine the location of an emergency.
Let’s think about the new enterprise reality for a moment. Some employees are required to work in an office although many businesses have lowered the number of employees that can work onsite. What if an employee becomes suddenly ill, makes a 911 call, and can no longer speak? Who is aware of the 911 call within the enterprise? Who will assist first responders upon arrival?
Alert notifications help security or the enterprise’s front desk gain situational awareness during an emergency. Additionally, sending alert notifications to a central location whenever a 911 call is made within the enterprise is a federal obligation, as required by Kari’s Law. There are Unified Communications (UC) platforms that have alert notification capabilities natively integrated within their systems. An E911 solution can also offer various notification features such as security desk screen-pops and email alerts, as well as other rich capabilities like multi-party call bridging and allowing security to barge in during a 911 call.
The world is facing unprecedented times and must adapt quickly. Technology is changing rapidly to meet new working demands and habits. Ensuring your clients’ remote workforces have access to a reliable and trusted 911 network should be one of the most important action items on their continuity plan. Help your clients stay ahead by proposing an E911 solution that can adapt to tomorrow’s reality.