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I need help! Dial 911!

Feb 16, 2021 by Eileen Adler

It was not until 1958, when the idea of a universal emergency number was presented to the American Congress, but it took another nine years for this to become a legal mandate. Prior to this, if you had an emergency, first you had to dial “0” and the operator would connect you to the right department, but it became apparent that eliminating this step would be beneficial. Canada and the United States agreed to use the same code. Why 911? The two numbers were on opposite sides of the early rotary dial-up phones and easy to memorize.

On February 16, 1968, the very first “911” call was made in Haleyville, Alabama as a test call to demonstrate how the system would work. Four years later, this became a national number to dial for an emergency, but it was not until the mid-1980s that our entire country had this system in place. Finally, in 1999, the system was updated to further refine the caller’s location enacting the GPS (global positioning system or location-tracking technology) structure so that emergency personnel did not have to depend upon a distraught caller who may confuse the address or may not be able to recall it.

Know that even if your cell phone is unable to make calls, other than a dead battery, for whatever reason, it can call “911” for an emergency.

GPS has posed some serious problems, however. If an emergency call is made from a landline, the dispatcher knows exactly where you are located, but a cell phone is routed differently and arrives at a regional center. Provide the city you are CALLING FROM and the TYPE OF EMERGENCY you are calling for. The dispatcher will then ask for specific information to direct your call to the correct site.


Life Lesson: Do not panic when you call “911” like this new father did:

"My wife is having a baby! Her contractions are only one minute apart!" 

"Calm down," the 911 operator said. "Is this her first child?"
"No!” The father shouts in anger. "This is her husband!"