Dial 911 if you’re in danger—True or False?

Growing up, children are taught the common phrase “dial 911 if you are in danger.” However, this statement proved to be misleading for Kari Hunt’s children on December 1, 2013 in Marshall, Texas. When Kari went to drop off her three children (ages nine, four and three) for visitation hours with her ex-husband at the Baymont Inn and Suites, he dragged her into the bathroom and fatally stabbed her while the children were left outside.

Realizing the severity of the situation when hearing her mother’s screams, the nine-year-old daughter did as she was taught and went to call 911. She called four times but was never able to be connected with the 911 operators. The nine year old was not able to get through because—like a majority of business lines in not only hotels, but also hospitals, schools, motels and office buildings—you must dial an “access code” before being connected to an outside line.

Many hotels require dialing “9,” some require “8” and a few require “6821.” These irregularities place individuals in greater danger due to the delay in contacting emergency services. Studies done by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, reveal that only 47% of franchised hotels allow direct dialing to 911, and 32% of independently owned hotels allowed it.

Upset by this reality, Kari’s father, Hank Hunt, proposed a law (Kari’s Law) to require hotels and motels to upgrade their phone systems to ensure a direct dialing to 911 in order to receive immediate services.  Due to the overwhelming positive response to this proposal, with half a million signatures, in April 2015, the bill (Kari’s Law S.B 788) was passed in both houses of Texas legislature. Many other state legislatures passed similar laws to help individuals receive emergency services, for example…

With the passing of Kari’s Law, several major hotel chains have changed their phone systems to allow direct connection to 911 without requiring an access code. These hotels include Carlson, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, La Quinta, Marriott, Motel 6, Starwood, and Wyndham.

By the end of 2015 many more hotels have promised to upgrade their phone systems. These hotels include Country Inn and Suites, Crowne Plaza, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Fairfield Inn, Four Points, Gaylord, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Park Plaza, Radisson, Residence Inn, Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Sheraton, Staybridge, and Westin properties.

Kari’s husband, 36 year old Brad Dunn was sentenced to 99 years in prison for the murder. 

May 15, 2015 Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs Kari’s Law as Kari’s family and bill author’s watch. Photo Credit: http://tpr.org/post/abbott-signs-kari-s-law-make-calling-911-easier#stream/0

May 15, 2015 Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs Kari’s Law as Kari’s family and bill author’s watch. Photo Credit: http://tpr.org/post/abbott-signs-kari-s-law-make-calling-911-easier#stream/0