New, enhanced 911 legislation (MCL 484.901) is currently in effect in Michigan with a compliance deadline of December 31, 2019. The legislation requires all multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) or Private Branch Exchange (PBX) operators/owners in Michigan to comply with these regulations or face fines of $500 to $5,000 per offense.

Now is the time to verify compliance, plan, budget and implement any necessary changes.


What is Enhanced 911?

The new E911 technology ensures that a caller’s callback number and location information are delivered to the correct Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), the call centers answering emergency calls and dispatching emergency services. In addition, since wireless users are often mobile, some type of enhancement is needed to 911 service that allows the location of the user to be known to the call receiver.

The requirements for E911 vary based on the number of buildings and square footage of your enterprise. In general, the specific location of each communications device needs to be provided “unless an alternative method of notification and adequate means of signaling and responding to emergencies is maintained 24 hours a day.”1


Why is Enhanced 911 Important?

Imagine someone is choking, having a heart attack or has some other injury which prevents them from speaking. Or, perhaps the caller is unable to speak during a dangerous situation, such as a robbery. These are just some of the instances in which enhanced 911 can save lives by automatically reporting the telephone number and location of 911 calls. Today, most 911 systems are able to accomplish this task from wired phones, which is the definition of enhanced 911 or E911. However, since the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 (the 911 act) was put in place to improve public safety, technology and our communications systems have changed dramatically. 

Over the years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designed and established transition periods to bring our nation’s communications infrastructure into compliance as technology evolves. These latest regulations are the next phase in an ongoing process to make sure emergency help is delivered quickly and effectively.

The FCC now requires that wireless telephone carriers provide E911 capability, where a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) requests it. The FCC’s wireless E911 rules are meant to help 911 dispatchers pinpoint the location of the cell site or base station transmitting the call, as well as the telephone number of the original caller.

In addition, other FCC rules regulate 911 for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), mobile satellite services, telematics and text telephone devices.

The goal of these regulations and ongoing updates is to continually improve the effectiveness and reliability of 911 services. In fact, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has stated that E911 technology has proven to be a “life-saving, essential emergency response tool in providing critical information when the caller is unable to verbally communicate his or her location, including when the voice call is dropped, discontinued and cannot be re-established.”


What Does this Mean for Your Business?

In order to provide the specific location information for a caller, every telephone capable of dialing 911 must have an Automatic Location Information (ALI) record in the 911 database to identify the caller’s specific location. Under Michigan law, the provision of an Emergency Response Locator (ERL) for every telephone capable of dialing 911 on a multi-line telephone system is required by December 31, 2019. If all ALI records are properly entered and maintained in the 911 database, a caller’s location or ERL will show up on the PSAP display, reducing response time for emergency system guidelines.

While most companies operate a MLTS or PBX, many are out-of-date and fail to provide accurate location information. If your organization is not in compliance, you may need to replace your system, upgrade the software or make design and configuration adjustments to your current MLTS/PBX.

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) provides a complete guide to the regulations but suggests that companies communicate with their local 911 service provider and telecommunications equipment provider to ensure compliance.

MLTS implementation and the actual regulation guidelines can be found on the State’s Office of Regulatory Reinvention website at: michigan.gov/lara