FAQ's about OfficeSuite UC® and Kari's Law.

WindstreamEnterprise Administrator admin
edited June 2020 in General Information
We know you have questions regarding Kari's Law regulations and how they affect OfficeSuite UC ® services. Here are a few answers to the most common questions:

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the advantages of the 911 (no prefix) dial plan? Kari’s Law is intended to enhance public safety by making 911 Emergency Services easily available regardless of one’s level of knowledge about the particular phone system used to call. OfficeSuite UC customers are able to dial 911 in an emergency situation without needing any special knowledge of digits or prefixes required to obtain an outside line.
What are the disadvantages of the 911 (no prefix) dial plan? OfficeSuite UC users may mistakenly dial 911 because they are used to always dialing outbound calls as 9+1+<10 digits>. If users do dial 911 in error they are encouraged to stay on the line with Emergency personnel to inform them of the error so they don’t dispatch unnecessarily.
Why do I need to dial 911 this way?  It’s a Federal law designed with public safety in mind to ensure that, in an emergency situation, callers can reach 911 without needing any special knowledge of a prefix or code required to obtain an outside line.
When did the 911 (no prefix) dial plan go into effect? OfficeSuite UC made dial plan changes server by server between the period of August 2019 through October 2019. Customer administrators were notified via email of the date of their change and the completion schedule by server is posted to the OfficeSuite Community online: Schedule by server.
The schedule lists OfficeSuite server numbers. How do I determine the OfficeSuite server number on which I’m provisioned? Follow the instructions found here: OfficeSuite Community: How to determine on which server your business is provisioned
Was there a charge for this change?  No.
What do/did I need to do to accept this change? The change occured at Windstream data centers without any requirement for customer participation, but you should inform and train your users on the 911 (no prefix) dial plan and especially what to do if they dial 911 by mistake.
What happens if I do not accept the change (or fail to instruct users of the change)? It’s a federal mandate, so you cannot opt out of the change, but if you fail to instruct your users of dial plan changes they may dial 911 mistakenly and your organization may incur fines for too many emergency dispatch calls in error.
What if I dial 911 in error?  Stay on the line. Don’t hang up. Explain your error to the emergency operator so that they don’t dispatch the police. If you hang up before connecting to 911 services, they are very likely to dispatch. False alarms distract emergency personnel from real emergencies and your organization may be fined by your local jurisdiction for too many false alarm calls.
Do I need new 911 stickers on my phones? Mine say dial 9+911.  No. The stickers are correct in that 911 can be dialed as 911 (no prefix) or as 9+911 for any users accustomed to dialing a 9 prefix to get an outside line.
What if I use 8 as the digit to obtain an outside line. Does/did my dial plan still change?  Yes. All customers are able to dial 911 (no prefix) regardless of whether they normally dial an 8 or a 9 to obtain an outside line. For those users that dial 8+911 or 9+911 out of habit, those calls will still connect to Emergency Services.
What other dial plan changes accompanied the 911 (no prefix) change?  None. No other dial plan changes were made beyond adding the ability to dial 911 (no prefix).  Continue to dial extension calls and outbound calls as you do today. For example, when making an outbound 10 digit call dial 9+1+<10 digits>.
My services are in TX, MD, TN, or OK where OfficeSuite UC was already compliant with Kari’s Law. Will my dial plan change?  No. You already can dial 911 (no prefix).
Can I change my outside line prefix from 9 to 8?  Yes. But there is a fee to do so. Creating and applying a custom dial plan costs $175 per site and may cause your user base even more trouble than continuing to use 9 as the prefix for outbound calls. If you want to pursue changing your dial plan, contact your sales representative or call OfficeSuite Support at 1-888-623-8647 or email us at [email protected]
I’ve already got a custom dial plan for my OffieSuite UC services. What changes apply to me?  If you’re already using a custom dial plan, then the only change is 911 (no prefix) dialing. All other aspects of your custom plan remain unchanged.

How do I notify important personnel that someone in the organization dialed 911? Log into the OfficeSuite customer portal with administrator credentials and navigate to the Business Details page. In the Emergency Notifications section enter the email addresses of individuals or distribution lists that are to be notified when anyone in the organization dials 911 from their OfficeSuite phone. The email will contain details of who dialed (name and extension) and from where (site name and service address). Use this method to coordinate on-site response in advance of emergency services personnel arrival.  Coming in OfficeSuite version 9.6, you will be able to notify select extensions on their phones with a visual and audible alert whenever 911 is dialed. Read more about v9.6: https://communities.windstreamenterprise.com/WE%20Connect%20Portal/discussion/7724108/windstream-officesuite-uc-release-9-6-enhances-911-notification-and-offers-new-call-detail-report/p1?new=1

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