Avaya, the global market leader in contact center solutions and a major provider of communications technology to public safety dispatch centers, announced today that it will present the inaugural Kari’s Law 911 Trailblazer Award to the Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC). The award will be presented on September 27 at the Real-Time Communications Conference, hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), an industry think tank for Next Generation 911 activities.
The Kari’s Law 911 Trailblazer Award was created by Avaya to recognize the efforts of industry leaders who have transformed public safety best practices through the adoption of Kari’s Law. The Award is in honor of Kari Hunt, a 31-year old mother of three who was killed by her ex-husband while their oldest daughter frantically and unsuccessfully tried dialing 9-1-1 from the phone in their hotel room. That phone system was programmed to require a caller to dial 9 before getting any outside line, including for emergency assistance. The tragedy inspired Kari’s father, Hank Hunt, to raise a Change.Org petition, securing more than 650,000 signatures in support of a law requiring hotels to allow callers to reach 911 emergency services without having to dial an additional digit such as “9.”
The Texas CSEC was selected this year by Mark Fletcher, ENP, Avaya, and Hunt for its role in orchestrating the many resources in Texas in support of Kari’s Law, which was enacted May 15, 2015. CSEC’s commitment and support included statewide workshops support to organizations such as the 911 Industry Alliance (which was responsible for drafting much of the legislative language in Texas) and providing guidance through the legislative process.
With the passage and implementation of Kari’s Law in Texas, multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) used in commercial businesses, schools and government facilities in the state are now required to provide direct-dial access to 9-1-1 without having to first dial an additional digit to get an outside line. Critical on-site notification must also be deployed when available. All MLTS operators must now be compliant. Under the Texas law, those who are not must file for a financial hardship waiver by September 1 each year, documenting their attempts to become compliant and registering their telephone system make and model number.
Similar laws have been passed around the country, including Suffolk County, NY on Long Island, the five Boroughs of New York City, and the states of Maryland, Tennessee, Maine, and Oklahoma. Kari’s Law legislation was also passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate last month, following a 408-0 vote by the House of Representatives on January 23, 2017. The two versions must now be reconciled.
Avaya offers mission critical services in a resilient, reliable and secure environment to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) around the world. In collaboration with the European Emergency Number Association in Brussels, and the National Emergency Number Association in the United States, Avaya is helping replace the many legacy first responder systems developed and deployed in the 1960s and 1970s to better connect the more than 6,000 9-1-1 centers across the United States and transform how first responders save lives.
“Avaya is proud to lead the way in the digital transformation of commercial communications by supporting Public Safety centers globally as they educate the public, promote best practices and save lives. Avaya has a long history in providing resilient and reliable communications, and I can think of no better example of that than emergency services.”
Kevin J. Kennedy, President and Chief Executive Office, Avaya
“Tragedy struck our family on that fateful December afternoon. While I realize there is nothing I can do to change the course of that day’s events, I can do my part to ensure that no other child ever fails when they try to dial 911 from any telephone anywhere. This simple law has saved lives and could have saved my daughter.”
Hank Hunt, Kari Hunt’s Dad
“When people dial 911, they are typically having the worst day of their life. As a global communications technology company, the least we can do is to ensure the technology exists, is deployed, and is used properly. I am proud this has always been our mission, and Avaya is honored to be able to further recognize the many heroes of our 911 community, especially the folks at CSEC and the Texas public safety community who worked tirelessly on this issue.”
Mark J. Fletcher, ENP, Avaya
Avaya (avaya.com) enables the mission critical, real-time communication applications of the world’s most important operations. As the global leader in delivering superior communications experiences, Avaya provides the most complete portfolio of software and services for contact center and unified communications offered on premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid. Today’s digital world requires communications enablement, and no other company is better positioned to do this than Avaya.
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