Does 9-1-1 Really Mean 9-1-1?

July 26, 2016


Kari Hunt brought her three young children to visit her husband at a hotel on December 1, 2013. The parents put the children on the bed to watch TV and went into the bathroom to talk. Kari’s husband stabbed her while his oldest child frantically dialed 9-1-1 in the next room.  Despite dialing 9-1-1 four times, each attempt failed because the 9 year old didn’t know to dial 9 first to reach an outside line. Kari succumbed to her injuries and was found in the hotel room later that night.

karislawSince Kari’s death, her father, Hank Hunt, has championed Kari’s law that would require direct dial to 9-1-1 from any device anywhere. During the past two years, Kari’s Law gained ground as both Texas and Tennessee now require multi-line phone systems to provide direct access to 9-1-1.

Now, Hank’s movement has reached the national stage. Kari’s Law passed the House of Representatives and was introduced in the Senate. We hope the Senate agrees.

Kari’s death brings to light the need to make 9-1-1 available to all people no matter their location or age. We teach our children from the earliest age to dial 9-1-1 but there are still access limitations to 9-1-1 services. People in emergency situations may not think to dial a prefix or code to access an outside line.

When presenting the bill to Congress, Representative Greg Walden said, “In an emergency, every person in America deserves the peace of mind to know that on any phone 9-1-1 actually means 9-1-1.”

Kari’s bill is an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 and requires multi-line phone systems to have a default configuration that permits users to directly initiate a call to 9-1-1 without dialing any additional digit, code, prefix, or post-fix.

The importance of Kari’s Law cannot be understated. We need to make sure that there is no difference in dialing 9-1-1 whether at home, at work or in hotels. Kari’s Law is already helping provide emergency assistance to those dialing 9-1-1 from multi-line system in Texas and Tennessee.  We look forward to the time when it helps save lives across the nation.

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