In a sign of IP communications’ increasing reach and the need for emergency responders and legislators to keep pace with the technology, Utah lawmakers are considering a bill that addresses the critical need for enhanced 911, or “E911.”
A core component of emergency preparedness for organizations with dispersed campuses, such as enterprises
, the technology leverages location-based services to pinpoint the whereabouts of distressed 9-1-1 callers, saving time, lives and property.
Utah’s proposed law
calls for some multi-line telephone systems to provide detailed location-related information to emergency dispatchers, and requires updates to the databases that house that information when phones are added or moved on the system.
State Sen. Jon Grenier, a Republican who has championed the bill and serves as its chief sponsor in the legislature, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Major provisions in the bill include:
· addressing the effect of industry standards on compliance with E-911 requirements;
· providing for multi-line telephone systems to train users on dialing instructions for 911, including where a prefix is required;
· providing for training and other standards to be created by the Utah 911 Committee;
addressing liability for multi-line telephone system operators;
· providing for certain exemptions from E-911 requirements (see below); and
· allowing the Utah 911 Committee to grant a waiver from E-911 requirements.
Under the bill, MLTS operators that are in an area without E911 service would only be exempt for an 18-month period after E911 service becomes available for very specific reasons, such as:
· the MLTS has a single emergency response location and fewer than 49 telephone stations;
· the MLTS operator has an alternative method of E911 support.
The requirements are similar to laws passed in other states and, if the bill is adopted, Utah would become the 17th U.S. state to legislate E911.
Virginia’s law, which took effect July 1, 2009, calls for all PBXs or MLTSs installed after that day to provide automatic number and location information – known in the industry as “ANI” and “ALI” – to a local public safety answering point for all 911 calls, unless alternate methods have been approved.
A Massachusetts law took effect on the same day.
Michael Dinan is a group managing editor for TMCnet, overseeing TMCnet's Web editorial team and covering news in the IP communications, CRM and VoIP industries. He also oversees production of e-Newsletters in the areas of 4G wireless technology and smart products. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan