Reverse 9-1-1

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Reverse 9-1-1 is a public safety communications technology used by public safety organizations in Canada and the United States to communicate with groups of people in a defined geographic area. The system uses a database of telephone numbers and associated addresses, which, when tied into geographic information systems (GIS), can be used to deliver recorded emergency notifications to a selected set of telephone service subscribers.[1]


Reverse 9-1-1 was developed by Sigma Micro Corporation, later known as Sigma Communications, in 1993.[2] Sigma was acquired by PlantCML in May 2007,[3] which was in turn acquired by EADS North America in April 2008.[4][5] PlantCML renamed itself to Cassidian Communications in March 2011 to align itself with parent company EADS North America's transition to Cassidian.[6][7] In January 2014, EADS North America restructured itself into Airbus Group, and Cassidian was formally renamed to Airbus DS Communications in August 2014.[8] Motorola Solutions completed its purchase of Airbus DS Communications in March 2018, and folded Reverse 9-1-1 into its Vesta suite of public safety systems.[9]

Case studies[edit]

The system is used to notify residents in emergency situations. During the 2010 Boston water emergency, government agencies used the system to notify a large number of Boston-area residents in particular neighborhoods to boil water before drinking.[10] During the much more contained 2004 bulldozer rampage in Granby, Colorado, authorities used Reverse 911 to notify the approximately 1,500 residents of the town to evacuate from the bulldozer's path.[11] During the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Seaside and Astoria, Oregon, residents were notified by Reverse 911 and sirens to evacuate low-lying areas.[12] When the improvised explosive devices in the Aurora, Colorado, apartment of 2012 Aurora shooting gunman James Holmes were detonated by police, Reverse 911 was used to notify nearby residents of the evacuation order.[13] On December 14, 2012, Reverse 911 was used to notify parents in the Sandy Hook community of Newtown, Connecticut, of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting incident.[14] During the manhunt for suspects involved in the Boston Marathon bombing, Reverse 911 was used to notify residents of Watertown, Massachusetts, to remain in their homes.[15] In October 2014, some Dallas, Texas, residents were notified of the city's second Ebola infection case by a Reverse 911 call.[16]


  1. ^ "What is Reverse 911?". Archived from the original (PDF) on November 18, 2010. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  2. ^ "Welcome to the Reverse 911 Web Site". Sigma Micro Corporation. 1997. Archived from the original on May 26, 1998.
  3. ^ "PlantCML Acquires Reverse 911". Business Wire. May 14, 2007. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  4. ^ Kreijger, Gilbert (April 22, 2008). "EADS buys U.S. firm PlantCML for $350 mln". Reuters. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Jackson, Donny (June 1, 2008). "EADS buys PlantCML". Urgent Communications. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  6. ^ Jackson, Donny (March 1, 2011). "PlantCML changes name to Cassidian". Urgent Communications. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "PlantCML changes name to Cassidian Communications, Inc., an EADS North America Company". Cassidian Communications. March 1, 2011. Archived from the original on March 14, 2011.
  8. ^ Nolin, Jill (August 5, 2014). "Cassidian Communications changes company name to Airbus DS Communications". Urgent Communications. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  9. ^ "Motorola Solutions Completes Acquisition of Airbus DS Communications". Motorola Solutions. March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  10. ^ Henry, Derrick (May 2, 2010). "Ruptured Pipe Cuts Water in Boston". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 6, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  11. ^ "Bulldozer rampage gunman dead". June 5, 2004. Archived from the original on April 19, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  12. ^ Mungeam, Frank (March 11, 2011). "Tsunami causes evacuations, damage at Ore. coast". Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  13. ^ Aurora Police Department (July 21, 2012). "UPDATE: Peoria Street CLOSED..." Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  14. ^ Stoller, Gary; Strauss, Gary; Stanglin, Doug (December 14, 2012). "Gunman kills mom, 26 others in school shooting spree". USA Today. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012.
  15. ^ Kumar, Nikhil (April 19, 2013). "Boston Marathon bombing: How critically injured man's memory of 'man in the white cap' gave FBI vital clue". The Independent. Archived from the original on April 22, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  16. ^ Fantz, Ashley; Yan, Holly (October 13, 2014). "Questions remain about how Dallas nurse got Ebola". Archived from the original on December 2, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2014.