Senator Brooks and Senate Majority Pass Bill to Increase 911 Access

Senator Brooks addresses the Senate chamber

Albany, NY -- The NY State Senate Majority passed legislation today to help ensure that people in public buildings know how to access 911 in case of an emergency.  The bill, S4756, sponsored and introduced by Senator John E. Brooks, Chair of the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Issues Committee, requires that public buildings with multi-line telephone systems configure their system hardware in order to allow any call placed to 911, to be directly connected to a public service answering point.

People in our state expect that if they dial 911 in an emergency, they will be connected to a public service answering point, and that emergency assistance will be dispatched. However, this is not always the case when an individual calls 911 from a multi-line telephone system. Multi-line telephone systems often require users to dial additional numbers in order to be connected to an outside line. These telephone systems are commonly found in public office buildings, schools, and places of public accommodation. 

"Who can realistically expect people to 'dial 9' first or calmly wait for an outside line in an emergency situation. By passing this bill we are increasing safety standards and eliminating confusion by streamlining the process of reaching emergency services," said Senator Brooks. "This is a common-sense safety measure that will save precious minutes when lives are at risk."

In order to ensure that precious time is not wasted in an emergency, multi-line telephone systems should be converted to allow users to directly dial 911. In the event that a public building does not have a system that is capable of converting, that entity should place an instructional sticker on or around the telephone alerting users of the steps to take to make an emergency telephone call.