New rules for multi-line phone systems will improve emergency response

LANSING — New rules go will into effect on Dec. 31, 2016, requiring all Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MLTS) or Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems in Michigan to provide accurate locations for phones when a user dials 911 from one of these systems.

Under administrative rules enacted in October 2011 pursuant to the Michigan Emergency 9-1-1 Services Enabling Act, owners of MLTS or PBX phone systems in Michigan must upgrade their systems by Dec. 31, 2016, to provide location information, according to a news release from the Michigan State Police.

Currently, not all phone systems provide granular location information with the 911 call to enable first responders to know the actual location of the emergency, the release indicated. In many instances, a call from the 12th floor of a large office building may only provide the street address of the building. If the caller is unable to provide his or her specific location within the building and no one else is available to provide assistance, emergency response can be delayed as first responders work to find the individual.

“Having the correct location information associated with a 911 call is vital in making sure the call goes to the correct 911 center with the correct location information,” said Harriet Miller-Brown, State of Michigan 911 administrator. “It is also imperative that the 911 operator knows where to send help, even if the caller is unable to speak.”

Owners and operators of MLTS or PBX within Michigan are encouraged to review the complete set of administrative rules to ensure compliance of their systems by the effective date. Rules R 484.901 — R 484.906 can be found on the Michigan Public Service Commission’s website at www.michigan.gov/mpsc, under “Documents Library.”

To further assist owners and operators in understanding the rule change and requirements, the State 911 Committee developed a guide available at www.michigan.gov/snc, under “Current Issues.”

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