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Open Letter to FCC Chairman Wheeler 12/13

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The open letter I sent to Chairman Wheeler at the FCC and Commissioners Mignon, Rosenworcel, Pai and O'Reilly asking for action to be taken on Kari's Law.

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Open Letter to FCC Chairman Wheeler 12/13

  1. 1.                   December  27,  2013     The  Honorable  Tom  Wheeler,  Chairman   Federal  Communications  Commission   445  12th  Street  SW   Washington,  DC  20554       Chairman  Wheeler,     On  December  1,  2013  a  tragic  event  took  place  when  Kari  Rene  Hunt  was  murdered  in  Marshall,  Texas.   The  murder  took  place  in  a  hotel  room  at  the  Baymont  Inn  and  Suites.  One  of  the  most  tragic  elements  of   this  horrible  event  is  the  fact  that  the  attack  on  Ms.  Hunt  was  witnessed  by  her  children.  Seeing  their   mother  in  grave  danger,  they  did  exactly  as  they  were  instructed  to  do-­‐-­‐they  grabbed  the  telephone  in   the  hotel  room,  and  dialed  9-­‐1-­‐1,  yet  no  one  answered  that  desperate  call  for  help.     The  National  Emergency  Number  Association,  representing  more  than  7000  members  dedicated  to   saving  lives,  promotes  the  simple  concept  of  “One  Number,  Any  Device,  Anywhere.”    This  phrase,   however,  is  far  more  than  a  tagline.  The  fact  is  that  while  this  instructional  message  is  accurate  with   personal  communications  devices  like  mobile  phones  and  our  home  landlines,  this  is  not  always  the  case   for  telephones  serviced  by  multiline  telephone  systems  (MLTS/PBX),  such  as  those  that  exist  in  hotels,   hospitals,  schools  and  many  other  large  commercial  buildings.     Multiline  systems  often  require  a  special  access  code  (in  most  cases  a  dialed  “9”)  that  is  necessary  for   the  caller  to  reach  an  outside  line.  Because  of  the  need  for  the  extra  digit  to  be  dialed,  in  many  cases,  an   individual  who  is  situated  “behind”  an  MLTS/PBX  is  required  to  dial  9  9-­‐1-­‐1  in  the  event  of  an   emergency,  and  may  not  be  aware  that  the  extra  digit  is  necessary.  According  to  the  family,  this  is   precisely  what  happened  in  Marshall,  Texas  in  December  2013.     As  technology  has  become  increasingly  sophisticated  in  communications  systems,  the  conflict  of  dialing   9-­‐1-­‐1  vs.  dialing  9-­‐9-­‐1-­‐1  has  been  recognized  and  addressed  by  most  vendors  in  ways  that  are  internal   to  the  MLTS/PBX  through  programming,  and  at  no  additional  cost  to  the  MLTS/PBX  owner/operator.     Many  corporate  consumers,  including  those  previously  mentioned,  just  don’t  recognize  the  critical   nature  of  this  “add-­‐on”  and  its  marginal—if  any—cost.     On  January  13,  2011,  the  Federal  Communications  Commission  Public  Safety  and  Homeland  Security   Bureau  sought  out  comments  from  the  industry  regarding  multiline  telephone  systems  pursuant  to  the   Next  Generation  9-­‐1-­‐1  Act  of  2012.1    Comments  on  various  elements  of  the  feasibility  for  precise  9-­‐1-­‐1   location  information,  as  well  as  comments  on  the  NENA  model  legislation,  were  requested.     1 https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2011/01/13/2011-565/framework-for-next- generation-911-deployment Mark J. Fletcher, ENP Chief Architect WW Public Safety Solutions 211 Mt. Airy Road Basking Ridge, NJ 07920 908.848.2602 voice FletcherM@avaya.com
  2. 2. 9-1-1 Access from MLTS - 2 The  response  by  NENA,  APCO,  Avaya  and  others  was  clear.  There  is  no  technology  gap.  There  is  no   financial  barrier.  Affordable  and  easily  implementable  solutions  exist  in  most  environments  today,  and   it  is  merely  the  lack  of  public  education  and  awareness  that  remains  as  a  barrier  between  MLTS/PBX   users  and  this  element  of  public  safety.     There  are  three  simple  steps,  if  addressed  from  a  legislation  perspective  that  will  go  a  long  way  to   remediate  this  problem  to  ensure  that  the  number  of  tragedies  such  as  the  one  that  took  the  life  of  Kari   Hunt  will  be  significantly  diminished  if  not  entirely  eliminated.     • 9-­‐1-­‐1  dialing  from  any  telephone  device,  without  the  need  for  an  access  code   While  dialing  an  access  code  (such  as  9-­‐9-­‐1-­‐1)  should  also  be  recognized,  a  requirement  should   be  in  place  so  that  the  dialed  digits  of  9-­‐1-­‐1  are  recognized  and  properly  routed  to  emergency   services.     • Immediate  routing  to  9-­‐1-­‐1   The  interception  of  a  9-­‐1-­‐1  call  event,  and  local  answering  by  non-­‐certified  and/or  untrained  on-­‐ site  personnel  has  become  a  dangerous  and  alarming  trend.  This  practice  jeopardizes  the  safety   of  callers  with  emergencies  by  allowing  untrained  individuals  to  answer  emergency  calls.  This   delays  the  response  by  trained  and  appropriate  public  safety  officials  at  a  point  in  time  where   seconds  count  in  an  emergency.  This  sub-­‐optimal  practice  must  be  curtailed  and  rectified.     • On-­‐site  notification  or  alerting  that  an  emergency  call  has  been  initiated   Access  to  large  buildings  and  facilities  can  be  complicated.  Internally-­‐  trained  responders  can  be   of  great  assistance  to  public  safety  officials  in  an  emergency.  On-­‐site  notification  can  ensure   those  in-­‐house  personnel  that  "need  to  know"  have  the  appropriate  information  to  both  expedite   an  internal  response  and  be  prepared  for  first  responders  when  they  arrive  at  the  building.     When  implementing  new  technology,  many  customers  inquire  "what  is  the  law  for  E9-­‐1-­‐1  and   MLTS/PBX?”  Unfortunately,  that  answer  becomes  increasingly  unclear,  especially  when  an  entity  has   locations  in  multiple  states  where  rules  addressing  E9-­‐1-­‐1  and  MLTS  are  inconsistent,  or  where  there  is   no  legislation  at  all.  For  this  reason,  a  common  policy,  or  a  stronger  federal  mandate  is  critical  to   minimize  confusion  and  save  lives.     Finally,  this  issue  is  very  personal  for  me.    In  2009,  I  suffered  a  brain  aneurysm  in  my  New  Jersey  home.   As  I  was  collapsing  to  the  floor,  my  last  words  to  my  daughter  were  “Call  9-­‐1-­‐1.”  She  grabbed  the  closest   phone  to  her  and  dialed  those  digits.  The  phone  she  used  was  an  IP  phone  connected  to  a  PBX  in  Texas.   While  the  MLTS/PBX  was  programmed  properly  to  understand  9-­‐1-­‐1,  it  had  no  idea  I  was  in  New  Jersey,   and  my  call  was  routed  to  a  local  Dallas,  Texas  trunk.  The  9-­‐1-­‐1  call  taker  realized  there  was  a  problem,   and  directed  my  daughter  to  find  another  phone  and  call  9-­‐1-­‐1.  The  bottom  line  is  that  I  know,  both   personally  and  professionally,  how  lucky  I  am.     I  greatly  appreciate  your  support  on  this  important  issue,  and  request  that  the  Federal  Communications   Commission  makes  this  initiative  a  priority  for  its  2014  agenda.  I  would  be  happy  to  meet  with  you   personally  to  discuss  this  issue  in  Washington  whenever  your  schedule  permits.     Respectfully  submitted,     Mark  J  Fletcher,  ENP   Chief  Architect     Avaya  Public  Safety  Solutions  

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