On Your Side: Dialing 911 from a hotel room is not a simple task

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Updated: 3/25/2014 10:11 pm
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Tens of thousands of hotels across the country do not allow guests to directly reach emergency services when they dial 911. This news come from a national survey taken after a 9-year-old girl could not call for help while her mother was being stabbed to death in a Texas motel last year.

On Your Side wanted to find out what system local hotels have for their guests that need to call 911 from their hotel rooms. Surprisingly, dialing 911 from your hotel room might not be as easy as you think.

Some hotels in our area require guests to dial "9'' first before they can call 911 using the phone in their room. Other hotels direct their guests to call hotel security for emergencies, so they can call 911 for them.

Suzy Rogers with the Emergency Communications Division said they get calls every day from hotel guests. "There are some hotels that are better and more responsive to trying to get their phone systems fixed, so we at least know it's coming from one of their PBX lines verses one of their hotel rooms lines."

Many hotels do not show the exact location of a hotel phone call, which Rogers said makes their job harder. "Where it affects us every day when we're calling these hotel securities to say we got another open 911 call or we got another hang up from a 911 call that we need you to track down for us."

News 4 called several hotels in our area on Tuesday. Two of the casinos that returned our calls, Grand Sierra Resort and Circus Circus, require guests to dial "9" before they can dial 911 from their room. Both hotels also route guests to call hotel security, so they can call 911 for them. Rogers believes that takes too much time.

"And then they've got to track you down, find out who it is you need and where it is you need them and then contact us. Well, that's way too long if somebody is in a middle of an emergency."

John Ascuaga's Nugget does allow guests to directly call 911 without having to dial out first. CEO Carlton Geer said they want to provide the best service to their guests.

"And at the same time, our security officers are notified of the 911 calls, so they can render assistance as needed. We do have EMT's on staff as well, so we've had instances in the past where we've saved people's lives."

News 4 also made several calls to the Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association to see if there is a 911 policy for Nevada hotels, but no calls were returned.
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