911 053122CHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham sponsored legislation that makes it easier for callers to reach 911 during an emergency was signed into law Friday.

“This new law helps children during times of an emergency,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “We are removing barriers that hinder people from calling 911 and we are making it easier for first responders to locate the caller.”

Under current law, multi-line telephone systems require dialing "9" or another number to reach an outside line. Places like businesses, hotels and government buildings use these systems to handle two or more calls coming in at the same time. Under the new law, MLTS vendors and manufacturers must configure new systems to support direct dialing 911.

This goal of this legislation is protect people and specifically children. Back in 2013, a women was killed in a hotel room by her estranged husband. Her daughter attempted to call 911 four times, but the calls never went through because the hotel’s multi-line telephone system required her to dial “9” before making an outbound call.  Illinois will follow suit with other states who have already passed this legislation.

House Bill 5502 will also update regulation on multi-line systems to provide accurate information about the caller’s location within a building or complex. Far too often, large hotels or complexes use multi-line systems and it is difficult for emergency response to get an exact location on the caller. This is ensures people needing help during an emergency are able to be located by first responders.

“This legislation will save lives and could save your child’s life,” Cunningham said.

House Bill 5502 is effective immediately.