Why Dialing 911 From a Hotel Room is an Important Issue
A few months ago, we talked about how hotel phones seemed unnecessary as most everyone has cell phones these days. But the story behind this Change.org petition has us seeing the hotel phone in a whole new light.
According to the petition, Kari Renee Hunt was staying in a motel with her three children when her estranged husband barged in, ambushed her while she was in the restroom and killed her. During the struggle, her 9-year-old tried to call 911 but was repeatedly thwarted by the hotel's "Dial 9" function which requires uses to dial a 9 to get an outside line. While Kari's daughter knew how to call 911, she didn't understand that she needed to dial 9 in the motel room.
Every hotel has different phone systems, some which include an emergency button like the Hard Rock Seminole's phone, pictured above. We've seen other phones advertise that guests dial "0" for the operator or the front desk in case of emergency. But in smaller hotels or motels like the Baymont Inn and Suites where Kari was staying, the phones don't have these emergency options. And that's what the petition is hoping to change.
Titled "Kari's Law", the petition is asking Congress to make it a requirement for all hotel and motels to be updated to E911 systems which would allow a 911 call to connect to a 911 operator without having to dial 9. You can go here to sign the petition. So while no one is ready to throw out the hotel telephone just yet, it's clear that if a hotel does do this, they need to have an emergency option available.