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The Importance of Direct 911 Access

In December 2013, when Brad Dunn left his children outside a hotel room and began stabbing their mother, the couple’s 9-year old daughter tried to call 911 for help but didn’t know to dial “9” to get out on a hotel line. Kids are taught to call 911 in the case of emergencies, but not given the caveat that some phones may require pressing a digit to first get a line. Since that tragedy, a new law (the Karis law, named after Kari Dunn who was attacked) is going into effect in the fall of 2015 in which businesses, schools, and hotels must have phone lines that can dial 911 directly without having to dial out first.

9-1-1 exists to help people in urgent situations, in which time is absolutely crucial. This law is especially helpful to younger people who wouldn’t think to dial an outside line before calling for help. In immediate turmoil, even adults who know they’re in a place that needs an outside line to reach an intended party might forget. Our brains are wired to dial those 3 digits for immediate help, and the Karis law cuts out any extraneous numbers, making the whole system more efficient.

What happened to Karis Dunn and her children is deeply alarming and we need to take a lesson from it in many ways, from addressing the epidemic of cultural violence against women to making the call for help as accessible as possible to children as well as adults. Digital IP will also be complying with this law, as we believe in its benefit to all. Our phones will have direct access to 911 with no outside line needed so that employees or others, should unforeseen circumstances arise, will be able to access help immediately if it’s needed.

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