Last Spring I wrote a post about one father’s attempt to turn the tragic event of his daughter’s death into a life-saving change: Kari’s Law.

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On January 23, 2015, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spoke at the Marshall Police Department (Texas) on the progress of Kari’s Law, with the FCC’s support, over the past year. The goal sounds simple enough — to ensure dialing 9-1-1 always works.

While it sounds simple, many multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) used in many hotels and other large buildings often require guests to dial “9” or some other access code before dialing 911.

Commissioner Pai emphasized the importance of supporting Kari’s Law:

By and large, our nation’s 911 system has been a tremendous success story. And much of that success is due to the simplicity and uniformity of that three-digit number. When your life or the life of a loved one is on the line, you shouldn’t have to think about whether you need to use a “9”, “8”, or “7” to get an outside line. You should be able to dial 911 and reach first responders who can assist you in your time of need. Dialing 911 must always work.

Kari's Law

100% of the hotels owned or managed by Carlson, Hyatt, InterContinental, La Quinta, Marriott, Motel 6, Starwood, and Wyndham now permit direct 911 dialing. Hilton is at 99%.

Before & After
As summarized by the FCC, much progress has been made over the past year with support and endorsement from the FCC, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), and many hotel chains including Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, La Quinta, Marriott, Motel 6, Starwood, and Wyndham.

Before – 2014:

  • None of the major hotel chains required their franchisees to permit direct 911 dialing.
  • At 68% of independently-owned hotels and at 55% of franchised hotels, directly dialed 911 calls would not go through. Only 25% of surveyed MLTS vendors reported that all of their products shipped with a default setting that allowed for direct 911 dialing.

After – 2015:

  • 100% of the hotels owned or managed by Carlson, Hyatt, InterContinental, La Quinta, Marriott, Motel 6, Starwood, and Wyndham now permit direct 911 dialing.
  • Hilton is at 99% (up from 50% in April 2014) and expects to reach 100% this year.
  • 70% of the largest hotel chains have required or are in the process of requiring all franchise locations to have direct 911 dialing. That alone will extend direct 911 dialing to over 7,800 properties.
  • 100% of the franchised locations of La Quinta now permit direct 911 dialing. Over 75% of Marriott’s franchised locations do, and it expects to reach 100% this year.
  • InterContinental, which includes Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Staybridge, now has direct 911 dialing at 824 of the 927 locations that previously lacked the capability. It is committed to converting the remaining 103 properties by the end of March.
  • By the end of 2015, the 911 problem should be solved at all Country Inn & Suites, Crowne Plaza, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Fairfield Inn, Four Points, Gaylord, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, InterContinental, La Quinta, Marriott, Motel 6, Park Plaza, Radisson, Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Sheraton, Staybridge, W, and Westin properties.

More work is to be done, including (ironically) as Commissioner Pai stated:

But more is needed. Many institutions have phone systems that aren’t configured to allow for direct 911 dialing. They need to fix them. And in this respect, I am disappointed that the place where I work, the Federal Communications Commission, has fallen short.



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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.