9-1-1

A dispatcher takes an emergency call at the Jackson, Tennessee 9-1-1 Dispatch Center.

9-1-1,[1][2] also written 911, is an emergency telephone number for the North American Numbering Plan (NANP), one of 8 N11 codes. Like other emergency numbers around the world, this number is intended for use in emergency circumstances only, and using it for any other purpose (such as making false or prank calls) is a crime in certain jurisdictions.

In over 98% of locations in the United States and Canada, dialing "9-1-1" from any telephone will link the caller to an emergency dispatch office—called a public-safety answering point (PSAP) by the telecom industry—which can send emergency responders to the caller's location in an emergency. In approximately 96 percent of the U.S., the enhanced 9-1-1 system automatically pairs caller numbers with a physical address.[1]

In the Philippines, the 9-1-1 emergency hotline has been available to the public since August 1, 2016, although it was first available in Davao City. It is the first of its kind in Asia-Pacific region.[3] It replaces the previous emergency number 117 used outside Davao City.

As of 2017, a 9-1-1 system is in use in Mexico, where implementation in different states and municipalities is being conducted.

999 is used in Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and many British territories amongst other places. 112 is the equivalent emergency number used in the European Union and various other countries. In the US, some carriers, including AT&T, map the number 112 to the emergency number 9-1-1 [4]. 000 is used in Australia. 1-0-0 is the emergency number of India, and in Israel for police or general emergency. 1-0-1 in Israel is for emergency ambulance service and 1-0-2 for the fire department.

History

In the earliest days of telephone technology, prior to the development of the rotary dial telephone, all telephone calls were operator-assisted. To place a call, the caller was required to pick up the telephone receiver, sometimes turn a magneto crank, and wait for the telephone operator to answer. The caller would then ask to be connected to the number they wished to call, and the operator would make the required connection manually, by means of a switchboard.

In an emergency, the caller might simply say "Get me the police", "I want to report a fire", or "I need an ambulance or doctor". Until dial service came into use, one could not place calls without proper operator assistance.[5]

"Emergency 911" displayed on the side of an Upper Dublin Township, Pennsylvania police vehicle, indicating that 9-1-1 is the number to dial in the event of an emergency.

The first known use of a national emergency telephone number began in the United Kingdom in 1937, using the number 999, which continues to this day.[6] In the United States, the push for the development of a nationwide American emergency telephone number came in 1957 when the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended that a single number be used for reporting fires.[7] The first city in North America to use a central emergency number was the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1959, which instituted the change at the urging of Stephen Juba, mayor of Winnipeg at the time.[8] Winnipeg initially used 999 as the emergency number,[9] but switched numbers when 9-1-1 was proposed by the United States. In 1967, the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended the creation of a single number that could be used nationwide for reporting emergencies. The Federal Communications Commission then met with AT&T in November 1967 in order to choose the number.[7]

In 1968, the number was agreed upon. AT&T chose the number 9-1-1, which was simple, easy to remember, dialed easily, and because of the middle 1, indicating a special number (see also 4-1-1 and 6-1-1) worked well with the phone systems in place at the time (which 999 would not).[7] At the time, this announcement only affected the Bell System telephone companies; independent phone companies were not included in the emergency telephone plan. However, Bob Gallagher of the Alabama Telephone Company decided he wanted to implement it ahead of AT&T, and the company chose Haleyville, Alabama, as the location.[10]

On February 16, 1968, Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite placed the first-ever 9-1-1 call from Haleyville City Hall, to Congressman Tom Bevill, at the city's police station. Bevill was accompanied by Gallagher and Alabama Public Service Commission director Eugene "Bull" Connor. The phone used to answer the first 9-1-1 call, a bright red model, is now in a museum in Haleyville, while a duplicate phone is still in use at the police station.[10]

Public notice on highway

AT&T made its first implementation in Huntington, Indiana, the hometown of J. Edward Roush, who sponsored the federal legislation to establish the nationwide system, on March 1, 1968. However, the spread of 9-1-1 implementation took many years. For example, although the City of Chicago, Illinois, had access to 9-1-1 service as early as 1976, the Illinois Commerce Commission did not authorize telephone service provider Illinois Bell to offer 9-1-1 to the Chicago suburbs until 1981.[11] Implementation was not immediate even then; by 1984, only eight Chicago suburbs in Cook County had 9-1-1 service.[12] As late as 1989, at least 28 Chicago suburbs still lacked 9-1-1 service; some of those towns had previously elected to decline 9-1-1 service due to costs and—according to emergency response personnel—failure to recognize the benefits of the 9-1-1 system.[13] By 1979, 26% of the U.S. population could dial the number. This increased to 50% by 1987 and 93% by 2000.[7] As of December 2017, 98.9% of the U.S. population has access.[14]

Conversion to 9-1-1 in Canada began in 1972, and as of 2018 virtually all areas, except for some rural areas, such as the Northwest Territories[15] and Nunavut,[16] are using 9-1-1. As of 2008, each year Canadians make twelve million calls to 9-1-1.[17]

On September 15, 2010, AT&T announced that the State of Tennessee had approved a service to support a text to 9-1-1 trial statewide, where AT&T would be able to allow its users to send text messages to 9-1-1 PSAPs.[18]

Most British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean use the North American Numbering Plan; Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands use 9-1-1.

On October 3, 2016, sixteen states of Mexico switched their emergency phone number from 0-6-6 to 9-1-1,[19] and the whole country converted in June 2017.[20]

Other Languages
español: 911 (teléfono)
Bahasa Melayu: 9-1-1
română: 9-1-1
Simple English: 9-1-1
Türkçe: 9-1-1
اردو: 9-1-1
Tiếng Việt: 9-1-1
中文: 9-1-1