What You Didn’t Know About 911 Emergency Number

What You Didn’t Know About National Emergency Number 911

Everyone in the United States knows that you dial 911 when there is an emergency. Most authorities even advise that your emergency should be a life or death kind of emergency. However, there are some interesting facts that you might not know about the 911 number. They include;

All mobile phones can dial 911

The unique fact about this 911 emergency call is that you can make it from any phone. It doesn’t matter if you have a service plan or airtime on your phone or not; you can make the call.

Also, you can use any phone to dial 911, a Smartphone, landline, flip phone, or any other type of phone. The only thing that could stop you from making the 911 phone call is maybe if your battery is dead or you’re far out of every carrier’s service area.

Thousands of 911 calls are made every day

Each day a 911 call dispatcher is ever busy answering every call that is made them. It is reported that in the United States, 240 million 911 phone calls are made every year.

This translates to about 600,000 phone calls a day. Most 911 call dispatchers end up receiving about 300-500 phone calls a day, and they have to answer them all, and verify if the callers genuinely need help or not.

Not all 911 calls are emergencies

You’ve probably guessed this already. Of the 600,000 911 calls made to the dispatchers every single day, a significant percentage of them are not genuine emergencies.

Some people have been known to call 911 emergency numbers for this, such as overflowing toilets, barking dogs, crooked hairstyles, dead batteries in smoke detectors, among other ridiculous reasons.

Even children have called 911 to report their parents for raising their voices or simply reporting that their dinner wasn’t good! In situations like this is that the 911 dispatcher redirects their concerns to a non-emergency 911 line so that they can be assisted.

However, some authorities take these non-emergency 911 phone calls very seriously. In some municipalities, you can even end up getting sued. For example, in 2015, a woman in Ohio was sued by the authorities for calling 911 to report that the Chinese food she got was not good.

The 911 service isn’t generally national

As much as you might identify the 911 emergency service with the United States’ emergency response, the services aren’t nationally regulated.

There are thousands of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in the United States responsible for answering 911 calls and dispatching them to the relevant authorities.

It’s important to know that over 3,000 counties in the United States have their own 911 call centers. This means that these call centers only answer and dispatch 911 calls from within their geographical area.

The 911 emergency services were developed by AT&T

In collaboration with Federal Communications Commission, AT&T came up with a 911 number, which they believed was easy to remember, and integrated it into its already existing systems.

Another reason why AT&T settled for 911 as the emergency number is because it was never used as an extension before. Also, AT&T had another almost similar number in their systems, ‘411’, which meant they would use the same route to integrate 911 into their systems.

The first 911 phone call was made in Alabama

The first 911 phone call was made by Rep. Rankin Fite, the speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, and he didn’t make it for an emergency.

The phone call was for show, and he wanted to prove to the people how useful the emergency number could be. The phone call was made on February 16, 1968.

It aimed to give Alabama Telephone Company the bragging rights as the first telephone company to implement the emergency number for its residents.

911 was made universal not long ago

Nowadays, you can dial 911 and report any emergency in real-time without a prolonged verification channel involved.

The 911 emergency number is part of every municipality’s emergency response management, and this might lead you to think that the 911 phone number has been popular since forever. But that is not true.

Around 1989, only 50% of the United States citizens could access the emergency service. In the present day, 99% of the United States population can access the service.

Services before 911 were awful

Before the while country adopted the 911 emergency number, people had a rough time contacting authorities for emergencies. In case of an emergency, you needed to have the phone number to your area police or fire department with you to get the assistance you needed.

And since the emergency number used was also a non-emergency one, you could end up waiting in the line for long before the operator got through to you.


The 911 emergency number has made reporting and responding to emergencies a lot easier. This has helped the population feel some sense of security, knowing they can make the call anytime they need, and someone will be on the end of the line to offer assistance.

ICT professional (three decades of experience in a variety of industry and Governmental sectors, including the Emergency Services), Author, Serial Internet Entrepreneur, Investor, Smart Home Enthusiast, and Creator!



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