1957 The National Association of Fire Chiefs recommends use of a single
number for reporting fires.
1967 The President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of
Justice recommends the establishment of a nationwide single number for the
purpose of reporting emergencies. An early proposal called for a different
phone number for each type of emergency, but that idea was struck down
because it contradicted the purpose of one single, universal number. Several
politicians and government agencies express interest and the FCC is consulted
for a resolve.
Nov, 1967 AT&T and the FCC meet to discuss the rapid introduction of a nationwide
Early 1968 AT&T announces 911 as the nationwide emergency number. 911 is chosen
because it is easily remembered by the public, it is quickly dialed and because
no area codes or office codes begin with or use it. Congress agrees with AT&T
and passes a bill which reserves the number for nationwide use. The cost of
updating telephone company equipment is offset by a fee included into a phone
subscriber's base rate.
Feb 16, 1968 Alabama Telephone Company becomes the first telephone service to
implement 911. Senator Rankin Fite dials the first 911 call from a phone in
Feb 22, 1968 Nome, Alaska begins 911 service to its city.
March, 1973 A national policy is established by the Executive Office of Telecommunications
recognizing the importance and benefit of 911 to a growing population. The
White House begins encouraging nationwide adoption of the new emergency
number and creates a Federal Information Center to assist in planning and
implementation of 911.
Early 1970's Alameda County, CA becomes the test-bed for a new pilot program introduced
by AT&T called 'selective call routing'. This is the beginning of "Enhanced- 911".
Late 1976 It is determined that 17% of the U.S. is served by 911.
1976 More than a quarter (26%) of the U.S. has 911 service. Nine states have
enacted for the emergency number. 70 new 911 systems are established every
1987 911 is available in 50% of the U.S.
1987 Canada creates its own nationwide emergency number service and adopts 911
Today Almost the entire population of the country (93%) has 911 access. Of that, 95% of
911 service is Enhanced-911 (selective call routing with number and location
Today Legislation is passed in many states requiring cell phones to be complaint with
location indexes for the E-911 system by 2004. This means any cellular
telephone that 911 is dialed from should be able to be located to within a few
hundred yards or less. Unfortunately to date, this process is unavailable at this