New law to change how you reach 911 from business phones - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

New law to change how you reach 911 from business phones

New 911 law for multi-line phones (source:KCBD) New 911 law for multi-line phones (source:KCBD)
Communications center at Lubbock County Sheriff's Office (source: KCBD) Communications center at Lubbock County Sheriff's Office (source: KCBD)
Lubbock Emergency Communication District (source: KCBD) Lubbock Emergency Communication District (source: KCBD)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Changes are coming to the way you call 911 from some businesses in the state of Texas.

The law is called Kari's Law, stemming from an incident out of Marshall, Texas, when Kari Hunt was murdered in a motel room by her estranged husband.

Kari's 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 for help four times, but the call never went through since she didn't dial the number nine before 911

Starting on Sept. 1, you won't have to dial any extra number before 911 if you stay at a hotel or motel, or even just sitting at your desk at work.

Many of these places have multi-line telephone systems that require callers to dial 9 to get an outside line.

This new law means if you do have to call from one of these phones, all you have to do is pick up the phone and dial 911.

In the communications center at the Lubbock County Sheriff's office, dispatchers are working around the clock to make sure every emergency gets a prompt response.

"People call you on the worst day of their life, they call you with their major crisis, and that's what we're here for," Communications Supervisor Windy Kraus said.

Kraus is frustrated to think some of those necessary calls may have fallen through the cracks, like the 911 call Kari Hunt's 9-year-old daughter tried to make from a motel room in Marshall.

"It's sad that this happened and someone had to lose their life over this, but that's unfortunately how our world works. Someone has to lose their life in order to get something changed," Kraus said.

911 Lubbock Texas Executive Director Michael Grossie joined forces with 911 operators across the state, and helped take the issue to Austin and Washington D.C.

"People don't think about dialing 911 until they really need to. That's not the time to find out that you have to dial some other number before dialing 911," Grossie said.

Ultimately, their efforts with federal and state lawmakers were successful.

"The biggest selling point was to walk into their office and ask them to dial 911. And when they dialed 911 they couldn't get through because they had to dial a nine in order to get out," Grossie said.

"Why do they need to do that? And did they know it before we walked in the door," he said.

Dispatchers like those at the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office are happy to see Kari's Law take effect.

"Anything that we can do to streamline getting people help is what we need to do," Kraus said.

"I hope that people who need help can get help and can get it in a timely fashion - to know that when they pick up a phone and they dial 911, that help is going to be on the way," she said.

If your business has phones that do require a prefix before dialing 911, you will need to work with your telephone provider to change that.

If reprogramming doesn't work, businesses can request a one-year waiver at texas911.org/KarisLaw

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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