A national survey claims that 'tens of thousands' of hotel phones do not allow guests to call to 911, according to the Associated Press. The survey was taken after a 9 year old was unable to phone for help during the fatal stabbing of her mother in a motel in Texas and was circulated with a nationwide petition, catching the attention of the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, March 24, 2014.
The December 2013 murder of Kari Hunt Dunn raised awareness and prompted a survey to determine if hotel and motel phone systems are programmed to allow 911 calls. A petition gathered over 440,000 signatures, demanding hotels enable their phones to make emergency calls to 911. The petition was received by FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who released the details of the survey: Direct 911 dialing is available in approximately 45 percent hotels that are franchised and only 32 percent of independent hotels.
'These statistics are alarming. They show that the telephone systems at tens of thousands of lodging properties across this country could fail Americans when it counts,' Pai said in a statement released by his office. He also said that changes are currently being made at all of the largest hotel chains, including InterContinental, Marriott and Hilton.
The National Emergency Number Association is the '9-1-1 Association' and released a statement in support of the petition. They stated that 'the 911 community stands ready to work with Congress, the FCC, and all stakeholders in drafting and implementing new policies to fix this problem.'
Until legislation exists, it is important to ask the front desk upon checking in what their policy is for placing emergency 911 calls. Also remember mobile phones will direct dial 911 in the event of an emergency, as they are not impacted by antiquated hotel phone systems.