If you were in any hotel in Texas and needed quick emergency help, would you know how to dial 911?
Would your children?
When Kari Dunn needed emergency assistance in her hotel room, her eldest daughter could not complete a 911 call for help. Do you know why? Would you or your child be able to complete the call? If the Texas Legislature passes Senate Bill 788 and House Bill 1997, it will increase your chances.
In 2013, Kari Hunt Dunn was stabbed to death, allegedly by her estranged husband, inside a Baymont Hotel in Marshall, Texas while her eldest daughter was trying to call 911—but couldn’t get through. The nine-year-old later recalled that after the fourth attempt resulted in static, she finally ran into the hall and got help. The husband is currently being held for murder.
Although Kari had taught her daughter how to dial 911, the Baymont’s telephone system, like most hotel or motels, required a “9” or “8” be dialed before the call commenced.
An online petition is now being circulated for a federal law to require hotels and motels to upgrade a guest call for help just by dialing 911, which gives the operator the caller’s exact location. (Even with today’s technology, you can’t count on your mobile device to give first responders your exact location.) The petition which calls for “Kari’s Law” now has 390,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, at the State level, proposed bills have been introduced in the Texas Legislature for a Kari’s Law.
State Senator Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) and Representative Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) filed Kari’s Law which would require businesses to have direct access to 911 emergency services through their phone systems. The bill is Senate Bill (SB) 788 and House Bill (HB) 1997.
Just as the national petition requests, these bills will require that businesses and hotels have a phone system which allows individuals to call 911 emergency services without first dialing any other digits.
Would you like to contact either Sen. Eltife or Rep. Paddie? Email them using these links:
Senator Eltife currently serves as Chair of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and also serves on the Senate Administration and Senate Finance Committees. He represents Senate District 1, encompassing 16 counties in Northeast Texas.
Rep. Paddie is serving his second term in the Texas House of Representatives, where he represents District 9, including Cass, Marion, Harrison, Panola, Shelby, and Sabine Counties. Rep. Paddie is the Vice Chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee. He also serves on the Transportation and House Administration committees as well as the Subcommittee on Long-Term Transportation Planning and Infrastructure.
Let your voice be heard. You can make a difference!
Paul W. Brown