The purpose of this post is to introduce new FreePBX E911 features to the community and allow the community to provide feedback. The FreePBX E911 features were tested and as of today released as part of FreePBX EDGE. We are planning to push E911 features to stable no later than Friday Feb 14th 2020. Using the new FreePBX E911 features, administrators can better comply with the new E911 laws. We’d encourage constructive feedback and discussion about these features, including how they can be improved in the future in order to provide admins and users a better experience, beyond meeting the basic requirements.
Upcoming Legislative Requirements
As many of you know, there have been some new standards required for US-based MLTS (“Multi-Line Telephone Systems”) to comply with the recently enacted laws regarding calls to emergency services. These laws include Kari’s Law, and Section 506 of Ray Baum’s Act. More information can be found through this FCC.gov documentation. Here are the key points of what will now be required for qualifying systems:
- Kari’s Law
- Requires multi-line telephone systems to enable users to dial 911 directly, without having to dial a prefix (such as a “9”) to reach an outside line.
- Requires multi-line telephone systems to provide notification, such as to a front desk or security office, when a 911 call is made in order to facilitate building entry by first responders.
- Ray Baum’s Act(Section 506)
- Ensure that “dispatchable location” information is available to the 911 operator, such as using a specific Caller ID Number that the provider has associated to the calling party’s location.
Proper setup to meet compliance of these laws is required for FreePBX/PBXAct systems sold and installed after February 16, 2020(see paragraph 97). We still recommend system administrators to work on getting existing systems to meet these requirements to ensure a proper experience when emergency services are called. Most of the features to meet this compliance have already been available in FreePBX/PBXAct, and are being used by many. The FreePBX development team has been working on features, and improvements to help PBX Administrators more easily set up systems to be compliant.
Kari’s Law Compliance
One part of Kari’s Law is that users must be able to dial 911 directly from phones registered to the system.
This can be achieved with existing features, through creating a proper Outbound Route, and making sure a proper digitmap/dialplan is set up on the the devices to make 911 direct dialing work out of the proper trunk.
The other part of Kari’s Law requires a way for others to be notified when a call to 911 is made. For this requirement, we recommend using the Notifications feature available on an Outbound Route. This will send a Paging call to a specified group an extension dials 911, which connects the group members to the 911 call for monitoring. The group members who receive the paging call will see the 911 caller’s extension as the incoming Caller ID, which will help them know who is making the call. In the past, the Notifications feature on Outbound Routes was only available in the Paging Pro commercial module. This feature is now being made available to the open source Paging module as well.
Ray Baum’s Act Compliance
Section 506 of Ray Baum’s Act is about providing the correct Caller ID information when calling 911. Administrators can meet this requirement by properly setting up the outgoing Caller ID sent for calls to 911. It is up to the Administrator to check with the provider that the Caller ID that would be sent for 911 calls is registered with the correct “dispatchable location” data. For systems that want a specific Caller ID sent only for calls emergency services, the Emergency CID setting can be used to override Caller IDs set in other places if the Outbound Route has Type: Emergency enabled. Older versions of the product may find this setting in the Advanced section of an Extension’s Settings. It has been moved to the General section to be more easily accessible.
Hot Desking Compliance
The FreePBX team has also implemented some enhancements for Hot Desking users. In the past, Hot Desking phones were not able to place any outbound calls while no extension is logged in at the device. We wanted to create a way to let these logged-out phones make outbound emergency calls if needed. A new feature called “Hot Desk Emergency CIDs” has been added to Endpoint Manager to set this up. This will set up logged-out hot desking devices with access to make outbound calls through Outbound Routes with Type: Emergency enabled, and configure the Caller ID that will be sent out for those calls. If this feature is not utilized, Hot Desking logout behavior will remain the same as it has before.
Please see this wiki page for further information and detailed setup instructions.
Feel free to open an issue on issues.freepbx.org for any issues or suggestions for improvement that may come up in testing.
FreePBX E911 Team
A big thanks goes out to multiple members of the FreePBX E911 team that helped develop and test the FreePBX E911 features.
Update: The Stable versions of the following module updates have been released to be available for all.
paging 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124
endpoint v126.96.36.199, v188.8.131.52, v184.108.40.206