What Is Dynamic E911, and How Can Your Business Maintain E911 Compliance?

By: Sean Gunville
February 13, 2023

If you’re of a certain age, you might remember a time before dialing 9-1-1 connected you to emergency services dispatchers in your area. Before this service was widely available, people often found themselves scrambling to find the right number to call during an emergency. It was a big problem. Fortunately, it was also one of the few big problems that could be solved relatively simply. 

9-1-1 is literally a lifeline for hundreds of millions of people each and every year. But as communication technology has also evolved significantly since the day of the rotary phone and the landline, 9-1-1 hasn’t remained as accessible and functional as it was originally designed to be. 

Dynamic E911 is aiming to change that.

What Is Dynamic E911?

Dynamic E911 is basically a bucket term for how 9-1-1 can be just as functional for callers who use cell phones and VoIP technology or are calling from a Multi-Line Telephone System (MLTS). 

What Is MLTS?

A Multi-Line Telephone System is what you often find in a business, a hotel, or a healthcare organization. Internal calls may only require an extension, whereas outgoing calls are handled differently. In the past, merely dialing 9-1-1 within an MLTS often wouldn’t be sufficient to connect you with emergency dispatch.

What Are Kari's Law and Ray Baum's Act?

Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act are federal laws that are designed to make sure that emergency help is easily accessible by dialing 9-1-1, and that emergency responders can get the information they need to dispatch services effectively. 

Kari’s Law

This law ensures that people placing outgoing calls from a multi-line telephone system can still reach emergency services by dialing 9-1-1, without requiring an additional prefix or code. The law also requires that a notification be sent to someone — typically a manager — who may be needed to provide emergency access to facilities and more. 

Ray Baum’s Act

One very important feature of 9-1-1 calls is that even when callers can’t speak or provide detailed information about their location, responders can get reliable location information from the call itself. 

In the case of single landlines, this was easily accomplished with Plain Old Telephone Systems (POTS) technology. But better tools and systems were needed to give dispatchers the same information from multi-line telephone systems, cell phones, and VoIP phone systems. 

Ray Baum’s Act ensures that going forward, MLTS and other voice calling systems now provide emergency responders with a “dispatchable location,”  including information like room and floor number and anything else needed to make sure responders arrive on the scene in a timely fashion. 

Kari's Law and Ray Baum's Act Compliance 

Not all legacy phone systems can be retrofitted to be compliant with Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act. The federal government understands that and is not currently requiring legacy systems to be compliant. 

However, if you’re upgrading any non-compliant system, even slightly, you may wish to seek special legal advice to make sure your upgrades don’t change your legal requirements. 

But these laws are important. They make it possible for emergency responders to do their jobs effectively, and for all of us to receive help when we need it most. And here’s the kicker…if your legacy telephone system is so outdated you can’t make it compliant, you should upgrade your system anyway to take advantage of the cost savings, features, and amazing benefits modern voice calling technology can offer.

Mitel’s Compliance Solutions

If your organization uses Mitel’s solutions, you can find information about Kari’s Law and Ray Baum’s Act — and how to make your Mitel systems compliant — here. If you use another system, your manufacturer may also have a solution that makes compliance relatively easy. 

If your manufacturer doesn’t have a good solution for you, it’s time to rethink your current business phone system. Communication technology is changing quickly, and instead of simply replacing your existing system with a newer model, it might be better to check in with a phone systems expert to make sure that another technology wouldn’t ultimately serve you better. 

Our US-based team will get to know your business and your communication needs to help you pinpoint the best solution quickly. 

Talk to a Phone Specialist

Topics: Phone & Collaboration