New Law Requires Direct Dialing of 911 In Texas

By  | 

BRYAN - In an emergency you know to call 911 but for kids it's not always been that easy.

Kari's Law recently signed by Governor Greg Abbott requires businesses with multi-line phones to directly dial 911 and not need an extra number to get an outside line.

News 3 looks at how that law came about.

"911 what is the address of the emergency?," asked a dispatcher.

The Brazos County 911 Office in Downtown Bryan receives over 108,000 calls in a given year, but sometimes dialing 911 doesn't get you help during an actual emergency.

"That's now changing with the passage of Senate Bill 788.

"And I'm going to give this pen to Brianna," said Governor Greg Abbott, (R) Texas.

Governor Abbott signed Kari's Law into the books last month.

It's named after Kari Hunt.

In 2013 her daughter Brianna tried to save her mom from Kari's estranged husband, who stabbed her to death inside a Marshall hotel room.

Her daughter tried dialing 911 several times, but since she didn't know to get an outside line and to dial 9 first, her desperate call for help didn't get answered.

"I can't find the right words for it, I really can't. I would give it all up to have her back, but that's not the case so maybe we can do some good with it," said Hank Hunt, Kari's Father.

Patrick Corley is the Executive Director for the Brazos County Emergency Communications District.

"Even my kids with a dad that works at 911 would have trouble in a hotel room dialing 9 and 911. It's not just something that most parents would teach their kids or really even if you did that you could expect them to do in a stressful situation," he said.

The law now requires hotels and businesses with the multi-lines to have their phones reprogrammed for direct 911 dialing.

"We'll be happy to facilitate any test calls in Brazos County to make sure those systems are operating the way they should," Corley said.

While laid into law, there isn't any enforcement or fines in place for companies that don't comply.

The law immediately took effect but businesses have until September first of next year to update their phone systems or they can file for a waiver.

Texas is now the third state to pass Kari's Law.

For more information on testing your phone system in Brazos County you can call the Brazos County Emergency Communications District at (979) 779-0911.