Happy birthday 911, you’ve just turned 45! It was on February 16, 1968 that the first 911 call was made, which seems a lot younger than one would expect, given how often it’s been used to save lives over the years.
Before 911, emergency calls were made directly to the correct department, or if one couldn’t remember the number to dial, through the operator. In 1958, Congress decided to make a universal emergency telephone number, but it took ten years of arguing to determine which agency would receive those calls.
Finally, in Heleyville, Alabama, the first 911 system was implemented in a police station. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, over 250 million emergency calls are made each year. That’s nearly 700,000 a day, which means emergency services are always busy.
Of course, 911 has improved thanks to the improvements in mobile and VoIP technology. By moving to SIP and VoIP, E911 services can now be accessed faster, with customer information readily available and linked to each number. As VoIP providers began offering 911 services, they began working with companies to provide complete service packages for both customer and regulatory needs, assuring the best communication experience for the safety of all.
There has also been the emergence of text-to-911. Text messaging has grown very popular in recent years, so texting emergency services has become popular for many reasons. While it was originally designed for the hearing-impaired, it’s also useful for circumstances where regular phone lines are out, and get a call for help out more quickly, where it can be handled easily and prioritized according to the emergency and key words.
It’s been quite the 45 years for 911, but since its implementation, countless lives have been saved or helped because of the ease at which it allows people to access emergency services. When used in combination with today’s technology, it’s even faster and more efficient than ever, and when it comes to helping people in emergencies, every little bit helps.
Edited by Rich Steeves