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Johnson seeks to simplify emergency dialing from large-scale phone systems

Legislation would give caller direct access to 9-1-1 responders
April 15, 2016
Democratic Newsroom

In honor of National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron) today announced the introduction of “Kari’s Law”, legislation that aims to make it easier for Ohioans to dial 9-1-1 in cases of emergency. The bill would require multi-line telephone systems—such as the ones used by hotels and offices—to allow direct access to 9-1-1, eliminating the need for a dial out number.

“While celebrating a week to honor our invaluable dispatchers and telecommunicators, it seems more than fitting to introduce legislation to assist their efforts in keeping our communities safe,” said Johnson. “In cases of emergencies, we teach children at a very young age to dial 9-1-1 and help will arrive. I am proud to introduce legislation that ensures easier, more effective access to emergency operators throughout the state of Ohio.”

In 2013, Kari Hunt of Texas was stabbed to death in a hotel room while her young daughter attempted to call for help, unaware that the hotel line required you to dial ‘9’ before dialing out. Following the passage of “Kari’s Law” in Texas, several states including New York, Illinois, Tennessee, and Maryland, have already passed similar legislation, with legislation pending in other states.

Rep. Johnson noted that similar measures are already being put in place in Summit County. At the State of the County last month, Summit County Executive Russ Pry announced the County’s efforts to update their communications system to ensure first responders arrive quickly on the scene of an emergency. The County is also implanting the Ohio Location Based Response System to improve the accuracy of location reporting on 9-1-1 calls.