PBX | Kari’s law and section 506 of RAY BAUM’s act

November 29, 2023

If you are a network administrator for a complex organization, you are probably familiar with multi line telephone systems or PBX systems. But, are you familiar with Kari’s law? All PBX systems installed after the year 2020 are bound by a new set of regulations that ensure the safety of the people in any compound or complex organization, including hotels, large offices, or other organizations with multifaceted networks.

What you need to know

  1. According to Kari’s law, it is necessary for your multi line telephone system to be able to make direct outbound 911 calls without having to dial additional information in order to make an outbound call.
  2. According to section 506 of the Ray Baums act, the location from which the 911 call came from must be known in your PBX system. The location must be a “dispatchable location” meaning the suite, apartment, number, or other identifying information is known. 
  3. In addition to this, in the event 911 is called, any PBX system installed after the year 2020 must automatically send an alert to a central location such as the front desk or administrator so that everyone is on the same page and emergency response can act as quickly as possible. 

Origin and limits of Kari’s law 

This rule was established in memory of Kari Hunt, who was murdered by her estranged ex-husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas in 2013. Her daughter attempted to call 911 four times from the hotel room, but was unable to make the call because she didn’t understand that you have to dial “9” first in order to make an outbound call. In 2018, Kari’s Law was signed to prevent such tragedies from occuring in the future. 

While the law does not pertain to PBX and MultiLine systems that were established before the year 2020,  any effort that can be made to prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again should be taken. 

Testing to see if your PBX system is compliant with Kari’s law

In order to test the system, it is not recommended that you dial 911. Instead, you need to contact the public safety points system manager and ask them how this test can be conducted in a way that will not overwhelm their system. Coordinating with local emergency response can help them test their systems as well. 

PBX systems in the context of smartphones

Desk phones are increasingly archaic, so organizations have had to ask how they can implement the safety regulations on their more digitized model. Digital systems, such as an app that can download a dedicated business line to any smartphone, instead of a traditional PBX system, are more and more common. One app is ours: MultiLine. 

MultiLine requires E911 configuration. E911 or “enhanced 911” automatically displays the user’s phone number and physical location. Calls in Data mode on the MultiLine app won’t be allowed until the user registers their 911 information.  This feature works in Data Mode or WiFi. It is only for residents living in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands.  To learn more about how to configure MultiLine emergency response, read here.

MultiLine can record call and text conversations. However, in order to ensure that no one ever is discouraged from getting the help they need, rest assured that no call to 911 or 988 on MultiLine is ever recorded. No one at your employer will be able to see that you called these numbers or the content of the conversation. To learn more about how to contact 911 or 988 through MultiLine, read here. 


Jane Marie




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