History of 911

Earliest History

The idea of being able to dial a single (universal) number to report emergencies was first utilized in Great Britain. July 8 1937 Britain implemented its 999 emergency telephone system serving police, fire and EMS The first call was received at 4:20 a.m. when the wife of John Stanley Beard dialed 999 to report a burglar outside her home:
33 Elsworthy Road
Hampstead, London

World War II

During World War II, American military personnel were introduced to this system while stationed in England. In the early 1950’s, a universal police and fire number was used at all U.S Military installations worldwide. The idea of a three-digit emergency number in the United States was introduced to Congress and committees were formed to decide how to make the concept a reality.

Evolution of 911

The telephone industry decided on the digits “911″. Basic 911′ could only provide a voice connection to an emergency response agency. The emergency responders did not have any information other than that provided by the caller. Still, Basic 911 was a big improvement in emergency services with the number predetermined for an emergency response agency. The first 911 call was placed on February 16, 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama.

Later, Enhanced 911 provided the caller’s location information and telephone number via special computers and display screens. Enhanced 911 also provides features for selective routing and selective transfer of 911 calls to multiple emergency response jurisdictions.