ALTON — A newly signed Illinois law requires private businesses to alter their switchboard services if necessary to accommodate 911 callouts.
The measure is a response to an emergency situation where a young child was unable to reach emergency services, said state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, who supported the bill, Senate Bill 3313.
The law is designed to make it easier to dial 911 without worrying about a special code to dial out from an office or phone system. It was signed into law last week.
“We are taught from a young age to dial 911 during an emergency,” Beiser said. “When the seconds count, there should be nothing standing in the way from someone who needs assistance.”
SB 3313 requires private businesses that use a switchboard service to allow a caller dialing 911 to be connected without first dialing any number or set of numbers. Many businesses require “9” or numeric codes to obtain outside lines.
The bill was introduced after a young girl in Texas tried to call 911 from a motel, where her mother had been attacked. The girl was unable to be connected to emergency services because she didn’t know she had to dial “9” first, and her mother did not survive.
“The terror this little girl in Texas went through when she couldn’t reach emergency services could have easily happened here in Illinois,” Beiser said. “Thanks to this legislation, if a similar emergency situation happens in the future, a person will be able to quickly reach 911 dispatchers.”
Beiser said he welcomes calls about this or other constituent concerns at his office, (618) 465-5900.