By: Jenn Schanz
The 911 operator... a voice we all expect to hear on the other end of the phone during an emergency.
But what if you couldn't get connected?
A 9–year–old in Texas had to face that reality in December when her mother was attacked by her estranged father in an East Texas motel.
"In the hotels unfortunately, she had to dial 9 to get an outside line before she could dial 911. And she said nobody would answer, she didn't know what to do," says the 9-year-old's grandmother.
The girl's mother, Kari Hunt died, and the rest of her family took action, starting a campaign for "Kari's Law," which requires all hotels, motels, and businesses to have direct 911 access.
It's gained national attention, and already has more than 400,000 signatures on Change.org: http://www.change.org/petitions/let-hotel-phones-dial-911-easily-help-enact-kari-s-law.
Staybridge Suites here in Lincoln has been on board with direct lines to 911 for a while, to avoid tragedies like the one in Texas.
"Everyone knows really to dial 911 in any emergency. The front desk is also alerted so we can go directly to the room. And that's our standard," says Tami Klimpel of the Lincoln Hotel Group.
I spoke to Brian Fontes on the phone. He's the CEO of the National Emergency Number Association, or NEMA.
He says Kari's Law is long overdue, so that there's no confusion or wasted time in an emergency,
"It's just anticipated that you'll be able to dial 911 and access a 911 center. In today's world the ability to direct access 911 is critically important."
Kari's Law needs about 90,000 more signatures before it can go before Congress, but it's already gotten some support from lawmakers.