Virginia’s 9-1-1 Legislation Enhances Safety
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International applauded the Virginia General Assembly’s passage of legislation to require providers of Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) to provide enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) location information to 9-1-1 call centers. The legislation, the first change in Virginia State Code driven by the Virginia Chapter of APCO, passed in the Senate on February 15 and in the House on February 19 and is currently awaiting the signature of the Governor.
“This legislation will go a long way in further protecting our citizens, especially those in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, on college campuses, visiting in vacation resorts, and all other facilities where multi-line telephone systems are utilized,” said Bill Agee, president of the Virginia Chapter of APCO.
PBX/MLTS are characterized by multiple extensions operating from a single switchboard. Most schools, businesses, and hotels operate on PBX/MLTS. Currently, when a call is made from one of the extensions to 9-1-1 the location information provided is that of the switchboard and not the extension, which can be found on a different floor of a building and even sometimes in a different building.
This legislation came just weeks after APCO International re-released its PBX/MLTS Whitepaper expressing a need for authoritative action on the part of public safety leaders in respect to this issue. PBX/MLTS is an issue which has been overshadowed by other technologies, but the problems associated with this technology have not been fully addressed.
The paper outlines the current problems with MLTS and PBX, which include a lack of consumer awareness that these systems can delay emergency response and the perception that there is no incentive to correct the problem. In addition, the paper urges national and state policy makers to move towards regulation regarding 9-1-1 location information from MLTS and PBX.
To read the whitepaper, click here.