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Multi-Line Telephone System

 

Minnesota Statutes 403.15 regulates the owners and operators of Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) that are used in private businesses, hotels, residential units, and educational institutions, including schools and colleges and has different requirements and effective dates depending upon the user. 

A decision tree was created to indicate the effects of the law and interpretation of the new law.

Responsibilities of MLTS Operators

Training for Users

Effective January 1, 2004, each MLTS operator must demonstrate or otherwise inform each new telephone system user how to call for emergency assistance from that particular multi-line telephone system. The provision will begin to assure that every Minnesotan who goes to work or school will receive the information that they need to know how to dial 911 from their location.
 

Maintenance of System

Every owner and operator of a new MLTS purchased after December 31, 2004, must design and maintain the system to provide a call back number and emergency response location.  This provision will begin to assure that businesses will provide adequate call back number and location information when 911 is dialed from the new MLTS.
 

Connection to Public Switched Network and 911 

Effective January 1, 2005, operators of shared MLTS, whenever purchased and installed, serving residential customers must ensure that the shared MLTS is connected to the public switched network and that 911 calls from the system result in at least one distinctive automatic number identification and automatic location identification for each residential unit.
 

Connection for Education Institutions

Effective January 1, 2005, the operator of a new education institution MLTS connected to the public switched network must ensure that calls to 911 from any telephone on the system result in one of the following: 

(1) automatic location identification for each respective emergency response location; 

(2) ability to direct emergency responders to the 911 caller's location through an alternative and adequate means, such as the establishment of a 24-hour private answering point; or 

(3) a connection to a switchboard operator, attendant, or other designated on-site individual.

Connection for Hotels and Motels

Effective January 1, 2005, operators of hotel and motel multi-line telephone systems must permit the dialing of 911 and shall ensure that 911 calls originating from hotel or motel multi-line telephone systems allow the 911 system to clearly identify the address and specific location of the 911 caller.

Kari's Law

On August 6th, 2017, United States senators approved “Kari’s Law” legislationrequiring the ability to direct-dial 911 MLTS frequently used by hotels, offices and other enterprises—by unanimous consent on Friday, greatly improving the potential for the bill to become law later this year. The legislation would mandate that 911 callers be able to dial the emergency number directly, instead of having to include an additional number or code. On many MLTS systems, callers have to dial an additional number—often “9”—to get an outside line to make a normal phone call, so a 911 call would require the caller to dial “9-911.”

The namesake of the bill is Kari Hunt, whose estranged husband murdered her in a Texas hotel room in December 2013. While the murder took place, Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried calling 911 four times. Because the youngster didn’t know that the hotel required a prefix to be dialed to get an outside line, the call never went through.

ECN is monitoring the progress of this legislation and will provide updates once available.

Exemptions

Multi-line telephone systems with a single emergency response location are exempt from these requirements. A single emergency response location is defined in the law as a location to which a 911 emergency response team may be dispatched. The location must be specific enough to provide a reasonable opportunity for the emergency response team to locate a caller anywhere within it. For business MLTS operators, only one emergency response location is required in the following circumstances:

(1) an employer's workspace is less than 40,000 square feet, located on a single floor and on a single contiguous property; 

(2) an employer's workspace is less than 7,000 square feet, located on multiple floors and on a single contiguous property; or

(3) an employer's workspace is a single public entrance, single floor facility on a single contiguous property.

 

Multi-line telephone system operators that employ alternative methods of enhanced 911 support are exempt from these provisions. A multi-line telephone system operator may apply for an exemption from the requirements in this section from the chief officer of each public safety answering point serving that jurisdiction.