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So much Canada.


Is all the verbiage describing the early years of the phone and how people made calls really necessary? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:34, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

I've removed the misleading claim that dial service was not widespread until the 1950's. Certainly many areas still had manual service at that time, but as that section read it was suggesting that dial service was not at all common either, which is simply not true. PBC1966 (talk) 08:49, 14 September 2013 (UTC)


Needs references most of all.

Hyphenation in article title[edit]

Why are all these numbers hyphenated, in the article? Dysprosia 04:58, 24 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Number articles without hyphens are years, not phone numbers. 19:04, 16 Jun 2004 (UTC)
9-1-1 is hyphenated to prevent people from pronouncing it 9-11, but I *still* don't have a reference; whoever said we need one is correct. Still checking, sir...
--Baylink 02:54, 17 January 2006 (UTC)


See also: Talk:9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Number Day

When the 9-1-1 system was originally introduced, it was advertised as the "nine-eleven" service. This cause some problems when people looked for the "eleven" key on their telephones. Therefore all references to the telephone number 9-1-1' are now always made as nine-one-one, never as nine-eleven.

That sounds a bit implausable. Wouldn't this be an urbal legend? Zocky 10:48 Jan 24, 2003 (UTC)

Could be. Couldn't find it on snopes, so I mailed them about it. I'll say if I get a response. Martin

I have worked for a 911 center for 9 years, and that is what we are always taught. It does have the air of urban legend, but some of the textbook materials does include that rationale.--Nh911guy 12:56, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

When I was the Library of Congress representative to the Federal Telecommunications Standards Committee, 1976-1979, the "eleven" problem was mentioned by the Federal Communications Commission and National Communications System staff. Hcberkowitz 19:14, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

OH NO!, somebody added:

  • In the United Kingdom the emergency number in 999 and in most of the European Union, it's 112.

I have changed this to

For Other Countries Emergency telephone numbers see:

and put the following note at the top of the page to stop anyone else being too helpful and duplicating articles (AGAIN).

Important Note: This page deals only with Emergency telephone number 9-1-1, not other emergency telephone numbers.

I prefered it as it was. Some duplication of info between articles is not a bad thing, and when talking about the problem of US media use of 9-1-1 in other countries then a couple of examples is not the end of the world. It also took up less space than your list plus note.

  • Additional topics still to be covered:
  • mention telephony as essential service, priority accorded to public safety services telephone lines and the non-priority accorded by Telcos in handling 911 calls just like any other telephone call.
Generally speaking, 911 calls are routed to trunk lines, which then route the call to the appropriate 911 PSAP. These are dedicated trunks which carry no other traffic. Depending on the network, the transition takes as little as 1/10th of a second.--Nh911guy 13:06, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Is it worth mentioning GETS and WPS prioritization for designated emergency service _workers_, which prioritizes above 911?

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Hcberkowitz (talkcontribs) 19:16, 20 March 2007 (UTC).

  • Telephone network treatment of 911 calls, particularly distinguishing disconnected and abandoned emergency calls from silent emergency calls, and how such silent calls are handled by emergency services.
The differentiation is different depending on the system. On the system I work on, a call that is disconnected before reaching the PSAP is called an abandoned call. The position receiving the call gets a "double beep" to indicate the caller hung up. Hang up calls are those that are hung up after connecting with the PSAP. A silent call is one with no verbal response from the caller, though there may be background noise. How these calls are handled differs by jurisdiction and whether the call is landline or wireless. Landline calls are generally called back to determine if there is an emergency. Wireless calls usually are not, unless the call taker has reason to suspect there is a problem. The reason for this is the volume of wireless calls vs. landline, and the higher rate of abandoned/hang up calls from wireless phones. Landline abandoned/hang up/silent calls usually get a police response. Some systems have TTY capability, and will attempt to make contact with a silent call in this manner.--Nh911guy 13:06, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

The above should be here, not on the article...

Is "universal emergency number" a mistake? This is only the number for north America. Isn't 112 the world wide number? CGS 14:15, 8 Sep 2003 (UTC).

Bump. I can't find any references to this that weren't (1) in the US or Canada (2) Wikipedia clones. Removing text for now.

911 required on land lines?[edit]

In the U.S., FCC rules require every telephone that can physically access the network to be able to dial 911, regardless of any reason that normal service may have been disconnected (including non-payment). On wired (land line) phones, this usually is accomplished by a "soft" dial tone, which sounds normal, but will only allow emergency calls. Often, an unused and unpublished phone number will be issued to the line so that it will work properly.

I've never heard of this. I'm in Illinois, and dead lines (at least cancelled ones) are really dead here-- no dial tone or power at all. I'm familiar with phones in both Ameritech/SBC and GTE/Verizon ILEC territories. Someone needs to check this paragraph; I suspect that, at best, it might be a law in a few states. Cell phones, on the other hand, always seem to work here, and are required to connect to 911 regardless of the subscription status of the phone. --Closeapple 07:02, 2004 Dec 5 (UTC)

I stand corrected. I personally encountered a GTE/Verizon line that was telling incoming callers that the number was disconnected, but had a dial tone and would respond to every non-emergency outgoing call with a recorded message to call a Verizon collections number. Strangely enough, it wouldn't allow that Verizon number to be dialed either. I didn't dare to call 911 to see if it would work, but I assume it would. I had no way of telling whether the number was changed or just artificially blocked with a permanent-disconnect message. --Closeapple 17:51:37, 2005-08-29 (UTC)

As an employee of a large telephone company, let me clarify. What the law requires is that if you have a landline hooked up to the network, and then service is suspended (for instance, due to non-payment) but not disconected (ie: when you move out and cancel the line) then a 9-1-1 call must be accepted and routed to the local 9-1-1 dispatch center. If a phone line has been disco'd (either you call and cancel it or they cancel it due to non-payment) then it will not call out at all.
If Closeapple had dialed 9-1-1 it would have worked. I'm no wiki expert, but someone should work that info into the article, as there is a persistant rumor that dead landlines will accept 9-1-1 calls. They wont, they're dead.JamesBenjamin 01:36, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

September 11 attacks[edit]

Was the terrorist plan to sabotage the WTC inspired by the 911 emergency code? or coincidence? --SuperDude 23:31, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Everything that I have heard is that it was simply a coincidence. But I don't think anyone (outside al-Qaeda anyway) knows for sure. Rt66lt 03:14, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

Anyone know anyone inside al-Qaeda? C'mon, don't be shy.

-G —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:54, 2 April 2007 (UTC).

With the passage of all the conspiracy theories as in Farenheit 911 and In Plane Site one ought not preclude that the psychological warfare aspect of choosing "911" came from local U.S. conspirators, not from al-Queda, as such would serve their ends of reinforcing the "fear emergency and trembling" along with the thousands of repetitions of the towers tumbling shown throughout the years. talk) 12:12, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't think there's ever been the slightest hint that al-qaeda had 9-1-1 on their minds when they planned the attack. This is just typical American creativity, connecting unrelated dots. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 12:47, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Don't merge this[edit]

This shouldn't be merged with the article emergency telephone number, because this article deals with the history etc. of 911, and has nothing to do with emergency telephone numbers in general. I have removed the merge template tag.

Don't Merge for another reason[edit]

911 is only the emergency number in some countries. This page should remain independant in order to distinguish 911 from other emergancy numers from elsewhere, like 999 in the UK.

-DUDE! You spelled EMERGENCY wrong!- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

911 in the UK and Ireland[edit]

I've heard that this works in the UK and Ireland, due to the large number of kids who thought 911 was the emergancy number, not 999. Does anyone know this? I don't want to try it.

--No 911 will NOT work in the UK. 999 will work as will EuroZone emergency 112.

Yes, 911 does work in the UK. I just tried it, and got put through to the emergency services.

--As a general rule, 911 does NOT work in the U.K. It is certainly not programmed into any BT switches, and in fact in at least a couple of places now there can be regular local numbers which start 911. It's possible that a PBX has been programmed to translate 911 into 999/112 on an outside line, and it's just possible that one or more of the cable carriers might translate as well. But overall, 911 will NOT work.

PBC1966 (talk) 21:06, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

--Many worldwide systems are supporting 112, 911, 111, etc. and translating to the local emergency code, if the former numbers do not directly conflict with the numbering plan in use. Hcberkowitz 19:18, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Dialing 911 on GSM mobile phones in Australia also puts you through to emergency services. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zohmohgoh (talkcontribs) 21:26, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

I have experience with this, but I would guess any telephone that can dial complete numbers could easily convert a number of common emergency numbers to the correct emergency number for the region. On an old-style landline, each button is communicated immediately to a nearby switching station, so you wouldn't want 9-1-1-*pause while looking at notes*-3-1-2 (a potentially valid local number in the UK) to end up dialing 999 by accident (although it's possible certain areas do this anyways). On something like a cell phone call though, the user explicitly presses the send button, so it's unlikely 9-1-1-*send* was anything but an emergency call. Phones sold in a particular region could easily be programmed to dial 999 when instructed to dial 911, 000, 111, etc., to aid foreigners who may have panicked in an emergency and forgotten the local number. Phones could also be programmed to dial a different emergency number by detecting what region they're in. But you're probably better off remembering the local number than relying on non-official gimmicks to work. (talk) 09:24, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

"Eleven" key[edit]

Why has no phone an "eleven" key? -- 11:30, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Good question! They ought to have it, like "00" key found in few calculators, but alas, then you shoud have a key for every "NN" combination from "00" to "99". By the way it doesn't take much effort to hit the "one" key twice.

Many do have twelve keys, with the additional "#" and "*" symbols. In international telecommunications standards, # is called "octothorpe". The dual-tone multifrequency encoding of the keypad allows for 16 codes. You will see these on US and NATO military codes, with teh extra four marked FO, F, I, and U for Flash Override, Flash, Immediate, and Urgent priority. Those priority levels are enabled on a line-by-line basis; Private Smith in the mess hall cannot do a Flash Override call. For that matter, there are higher priorities not on phones, one called CRITIC/ECP for critical intelligence or for nuclear combat orders, and two higher ones for internetwork and network control. The whole issue of precedence may well be worth its own entry if there isn't one; I must check (once I figure out how to create an article) Hcberkowitz 19:23, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

- The standard fourth column on Autovon phones had FO (Flash Override), F (Flash), I (Immediate) and P (Priority). In the very early days of automatic dialing (early part of the 20th century), there were actually some systems which had an eleventh position on the rotary dial and which was used for reaching an operator, before dialing zero became the standard. - PBC1966 (talk) 12:27, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

"00" key[edit]

Why has no phone an "00" key? -- 10:31, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Gee, I don't know. Why is the sky blue? —QuicksilverT @ 21:29, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Why waste you your time on questions such as these? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:12, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Why WOULD a phone have a "00" key? (talk) 09:09, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

The functions of the central[edit]

One thing the article doesn't explain is if the 9-1-1 central only receives calls and send out an alarm - or they also commnicate with the dispatched units (fire, police, EMS) after an alarm have been sent out.

In Denmark the 1-1-2 central receives the emergency call and sends out an alarm to an operation control centre operated by the emergency service(s) needed. All communication afterwards is between the vehicles and their control centre. If any questions about the alarm the control centre may call up the 1-1-2 central which sent out the alarm.

But how does it work in the US ? --|EPO| 13:27, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

It varies by area and local legislation. Some places have all 911 calls come to the local county/parish, others the city/municipality, and some outsource to other counties if they do not have enough of a population to support a 911 center; some even transfer the call depending on the type of emergency or outsource it entirely. I will note that some agencies are small enough that the 911 operator also holds the role of the police or EMS dispatcher - i.e. you would take the call, then dispatch the officer or ambulance yourself. -- Kuroji 13:09, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
One of the problems in implementing 911 service is that almost every metropolitan area in the USA is a conglomeration of cities, suburbs, unincorporated residential areas, unicorporated rural areas, and frequently more than one county. All this means that there are several police departments, several fire departments, several hospitals, and several ambulance services, some of which may be privately operated, and some of which may be publicly operated.
In the region where I live (Portland, Oregon) there was a great deal of interdepartmental and intergovernmental rivalry and jealousy. However, problems were slowly worked out; after years of legal wrangling most of the unincorporated residential areas were absorbed by either Portland or Gresham, which is the nearest suburb to the east. In this process, at least one fire department was absorbed by Portland, and Portland Police began patrolling soon-to-be annexed areas.
It was eventually agreed that all law enforcement and fire departments would be dispatched at the county level, and that there would be a single seven-digit number for all emergencies (760-6911), replacing at least a half-dozen existing numbers. The private ambulance companies were NOT happy about this, insisting that customers should have the right to choose whichever ambulance company they wanted. This of course completely ignores the fact that the average citizen in a medical emergency in unlikely to remember which ambulance company is nearest. However, the ambulance companies were eventually brought into line. It is interesting to note that dialing 503-760-6911 (the old Portland Police number) or 503-232-2111 (the old Portland Fire Department number) will still connect you to the 911 dispatch center.
At the same time all this was happening, most of the old electromechanical telephone switching equipment was being replaced with electronic equipment which could be easily programmed to accept 911. Finally everything was ready, and 911 service was cut over. I wish I could say that everything went well from then on, but the system had quite a few procedural and technical hurdles to overcome. Still, the confusion and problems were less than the previous situation where it was easy to call the wrong emergency number.
RDV 20March2007 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:26, 20 March 2007 (UTC).

what's the #'s for 911[edit]

in rural areas the # for 9-1-1 was once 2000

922 also works for 911. I dont know why but it does.

These would be entirely local issues depending upon how local switching equipment has been configured. Easily remembered numbers (such as 2000) might have been assigned for emergency use in some places, but there was never any sort of national standard. (talk) 12:07, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

difficulty of establishing location of caller calling 9-1-1 from VoIP[edit]

I understand that, due to the global nature of the Internet, it is difficult to establish the physical location of someone calling 9-1-1 with VoIP. However, many ads and websites know pretty exactly where I am, apparently from my IP address. Try yourself: Find your location according to your IP Wouldn't that be a (partial) solution to the problem?--Soylentyellow 15:52, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

Well.. It is not impossible. The internet service providers keep databases over, which IP's are used by their costumers. The problem is more to let the 9-1-1 central access these databases. It requires some pretty technical installations. For instance the page you link to is letting me know I am in Copenhagen and displaying a coordinate. But it does not specify, which floor I live on - or which side on the floor I sit in. With this info the paramedics could arrive at the coordinate and have no idea where to look. So the solution will require the ISP's databases to be completely updated with exact adress to each IP currently in use. But what if two (or three or more) apartments share an connection and only have one external IP?
So it's a bit more complicated than that you see :) --|EPO| 18:29, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
I know with my VOIP service I am required to keep an E911 address on file with them. If 911 is dialed from my phone this address will be provided. I don't know how many providers use this method, but it seems like a decent solution. --—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 04:43, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Calls to India[edit]

The article says that "sometimes calls to India will end up at the emergency dispatch office". I don't get it. Is there any real event that can be use to prove this?
Without outside line prefix: 011 + 91 + ...
With prefix "9": 9 + 011 + 91 + ...
In both cases, the dialing sequence includes "011" and the "011" has clearly indicates that the call is to India, not to emergency services. Joshua Chiew 13:17, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

FBI Phone List[edit]

I added informationa about the FBI's phone directory. I work for my local 911 center. That's how we get phone numbers for other agencies quickly. I didn't include references. Don't know that there are any. I know it's there, though, cause I use it all the time.

It would appear this may be considered "original research." Any thoughts? 18:44, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
My agency has access to NCIC/NLETS, but we've never heard of this phone directory until you posted it. I guess my question is "how/where do we get it?" Thanks. Equinox137 10:27, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure how you get it. I work for an agency in Utah. In our BCI system, you type TQ or TQM in the transaction code box and it'll pull it up. You can find the agency's ORI and phone number through it. It's been very helpful for us. I would suggest contact your state's BCI service and ask them about it. Again, it's called the Orion file.

Good call. I was able to find a source for it. Thanks.

Dialing patterns[edit]

The Dialing patterns sections contains a number of unlikely situations.

So even dialing an international prefix like 0-1-1- would get you 9-0-1-1 but as soon as the hotel guest hits "0" it rings the front desk or PBX operator.

As soon as the hotel guest hits "9", he indicates that he wants to call an outside line, so there's no reason that it will ring the front desk or PBX operator.

Another possible problem is that the international phone code for India is "91", and sometimes calls meant for India end up at the local emergency dispatch office.

As I noted above, it is really not a problem if the "0-1-1" international dialing prefix is dialed. --Joshua Chiew 23:44, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I put some of those in there, and they're not as unlikely as you think; motel PBX programmers, among other people, really do have to think about that stuff...
--Baylink 05:36, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I work in a 911 center. We get several of those a day in our county. All of those situations are not only likely, but occur all the time. It doesn't make any sense to me, either. I'm not sure why or how people do it, but they do.

People can make some pretty thoughtless mistakes. Please understand when I use the word "people" I don't mean to give the impression that I myself am above making thoughtless mistakes, everybody makes them. One relatively harmless blunder is locking one's keys in the car. Other thoughtless mistakes are not exactly harmless; Such as resting a thin-walled styrofoam cup full of scalding hot coffee between one's thighs while driving, or forgetting to feed your fish. To the above 9-1-1 operator, in high school I witnessed a 9-1-1 misdial intended for India. I was at a friends house when a relative of his happened to be attempting to make a call home to India. Whoever wrote the number down assumed the reader knew to dial 011 before dialing the country code 91 and the rest of the number which in this case started with a 1. He was still dialing numbers when my friend and I heard the operator's voice, my friend then grabbed the phone and explained the mistake. I can imagine a technician setting a PBX to a 91 dial out, or still another person trying to reach India and forgetting the 011. People will always make mistakes like that, if the emergency number was 6-1-1 the operators there would get just as many people trying to reach Australia whose country code is 61. Anynobody 06:37, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
There can be unforseen problems in almost any situation. Several years ago, my place of employment was experiencing skyrocketing long distance charges along with difficulty in charging calls to the correct department or project because many people were making long distance calls from extensions other than their own.
The solution was to assign a five-digit code to every employee and to every project. You press in the code, then 9-1-area code and 7-digit number. However, we made an unsettling discovery that the system would not accept 9-9-1-1. The equipment had no problem with the first 9; it just mean "outside call." However, the second nine and the first one caused the system to assume someone was making an unauthorized long distance call, and promptly switched to the ATB tone. This came out when we had a minor emergency, but my boss quickly realized what was happening and dialed her long distance code, then 9-9-1-1. I also got through, but only because I remembered the old seven-digit emergency number.
I don't know how they did it, but eventually our system was programmed to accept 9-9-1-1.

RDV 25-March-07

911/311 and other "new" service codes[edit]

Meaning no disrespect, but most of you are showing your (young) ages. ALL n11 codes were reserved for "special services" in the 1920's. In addition to 611, 411, and 211 which have already been mentioned, there was a variety of uses for some of the other codes. I know it's hard to believe, but there was once a time in history when you had to place all long distance calls through an operator, and you sometimes had to hang up and wait to be called back when the connection finally went through.

n11 service codes have NOT been chosen so that they don't conflict with area codes; in fact, the exact opposite is true. Area codes didn't even exist when n11 were designated for "special services," and area codes had to be designed so that they didn't conflict with the already-existing special service codes.

It also should be remembered that initially most dial telephone numbers consisted of an exchange name and four or five digits. You dialed the first two or three letters of the name, then the numbers. (PENnsylvania-3481 or PEnnsylvania6-3481). There are no letters assigned to the "1" hole on a telephone dial, so a n11 code could not be used as an exchange code or name.

RDV, 2March2007

See A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System: The Early Years 1875 - 1925. M.D. Fagin, Editor. Bell Telephone Laboratories, 1975

I should mention that I also added a section to the main article describing how emergency calls were handled in the pre-dial telephone era, and how that changed when people got dial phones.

RDV, 20March2007

9-1-1 Use[edit]

There may be some dispute as when to call 911 or how to report a crime. There is a vote on my userpage debating the issue. --Defender 911 23:08, 3 April 2007 (UTC)


I noticed a lot of users added a number of other emergency numbers in the section International emergency numbers and numbers in other countries. While I think that giving 9-9-9 and 1-1-2 as examples (the two most common ones) is OK, but the rest less common numbers should not be included. A link to Emergency telephone number is pretty enough. --Joshua Chiew 23:48, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Calling across jurisdictions[edit]

I'm troubled by my opinion that something needs to be in this section, but I can't reference it per se: How does someone without access to the various law enforcement databases reach the PSAP in a distant area? This is something I have faced personally, but, as a communications engineer, I solved it from general experience. This experience is less what I'd call "original research", and more what patents call "obvious to one skilled in the art."

As one real-world example, I had a call from a friend, drifting in and out of unconsciousness, 3000 miles away in western Canada while I was in the eastern US. Luckily, I had multiple phone lines, and was able to call the municipal library to try to get a direct number into the PSAP. With this long-distance number, I three-way-conferenced my call, and stayed on the line until the paramedics picked up. The library isn't the only possible source, but I was able to find its number more easily than that of the town operator, and I thought a reference librarian might be more resourceful than a telephone operator.

I could, I suppose, publish this somewhere and reference it, but I feel it is useful information. Suggestions?

Hcberkowitz 20:39, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

9-1-1 Abuse[edit]

Why is there nothing in this article about how some people abuse 9-1-1. 10:54, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Oh, good point. There's plenty of room on the page, what do you know about it? Jump on in. ~ Otterpops 15:08, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Emergency vs. Non-emergency Use[edit]

From article:

The use of this number is reserved for true emergency circumstances only. Use of 9-1-1 under non-emergency circumstances may result in a criminal charge.

This is very much dependent upon your jurisdiction. Where I live, 911 is the preferred method to contact a dispatcher, emergency or otherwise. If nobody objects, I will change the article text accordingly to indicate that in SOME areas it may be a crime to use 911 service for non-emergency calls. BirdbrainedPhoenix 04:29, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, finally got around to doing this. BirdbrainedPhoenix 14:55, 4 November 2007 (UTC)
This is edited by someone else but if you prank call 911, you can face prison and a huge fine. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

So...that means...[edit]

If I'm in trouble I can dial 911 from any cell phone, even one without service, as long as the battery is charged? And help will come?
I heard a rumor that this was true, but I didn't know whether to believe it.
~ Otterpops 15:24, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

You can dial from any cell phone, even if the phone subscription is disconnected. However, the phone must have service (in other words, it needs to be near a cell tower). Remember, you will need to tell the dispatcher exactly where you are. Unlike landlines, cell phones do not give your exact location. Brianga (talk) 10:04, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
Not exact location. But it is not very complicated to trace the phone wihtin a small radius - this I saw during a visit on a Danish 112 central. Via the masts it is possible to trace which cell the phone is in. With this information the computer systems will draw a circle on the screen pointing out your location with a few meters accuracy. It is also these masts that (in Denmark) will ensure your call will be directed to the nearest 112 central. --|EPO| da: 13:48, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Triangulation can result in an area of 5 square miles to search in many parts of the United States. Many Phase 1 phones (those that don't give co-ordinates) are still in use here, Mason County, Washington, USA. It is a real problem in this county as we are large with few towers, making triangulation not feasible. Also, when a cell phone with Phase 2, one that has GPS co-ordinates transmitted, is no longer activated, while it can successfully dial 911, the co-ordinates usually do not come through. I am the IT staff for our center and we have received calls from inactive phase 2 phones, but have never received GPS co-ordinates from an inactive phone. Also, even on active phase 2 phones, we have to rely on the phone provider to transmit the data. Often the dispatchers have to manually re-query the telco several times before the data actually comes through. Which further delays help being routed. ddupont, 11:20 May 16, 2011 (GMT -8). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:22, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Old analog cell phones will not work at all... the analog cell towers were shut off in 2008 (talk) 01:22, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Popular culture[edit]

Does anyone else think that it would be easier and better to say something like "Many television shows and movies have made fun of the number, often having a character ask for the number for 9-1-1, such as in the Simpsons, Home Improvement, [etc]." That just seems better than listing off many examples. --MPD T / C 03:10, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

  • How bout this, I'm removing the whole idiotic thing per Wp:trivia

Here is the removed section in case anyone wants to add anything relevant into appropriate parts of the article:

9-1-1 in popular culture

* The number's close association with emergencies has led to 911 being used as shorthand for emergency in text messages sent to pagers and mobile phones—however, this is often used to tag situations which do not have the life-safety implications that an actual call to 911 implies. * The hip hop group Public Enemy released a song that was scathingly critical of the 9-1-1 service entitled “911 Is A Joke” on their 1990 album Fear of a Black Planet. The song highlighted the poor performance of the 9-1-1 service in predominantly black neighborhoods. * The Cyndi Lauper album True Colors contains a track entitled “911.” * In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer picks up the phone and says, "Operator, give me the number for 9-1-1!" (As one will see, this is not an isolated incident.) He also receives the "true" emergency phone number of 9-1-2 when he joins the Stonecutters. * In another episode of The Simpsons, police chief Clancy Wiggum apparently receives a 9-1-1 call at his home during the town lottery, to which he responds, "No, you got the wrong number. This is nine-one....two." * From 1989 to 1996 CBS aired Rescue 911, a television show which featured host William Shatner and dramatic recreations of actual emergencies and the corresponding response of 9-1-1. * In the “Crazy For You” episode of Home Improvement, Tim Allen's Tim Taylor calls the operator and says "Operator - what's the number for 911?" He then tells the operator to "slow down" as he writes it down. * In the movie The Santa Clause, also with Tim Allen; upon hearing the noise on his roof, Allen's Scott Calvin asks his son if he knows how to dial 9-1-1 to which the son replies, "yeah, 9-1-1." * On the 1992 "Earthquake!" episode of Saved By The Bell, a character is told to call 911. The character promptly asks, "What's the number?" A similar scene also occurred in Ed, Edd n Eddy. * In the 1994 film adaptation of Little Rascals, two kids in the gang consider calling the fire department to put out a fire, but decide otherwise when they realize neither of them knows the number for 911. In the scene, the fire department is actually across the street from the pay phone they were using. One of the kids asks someone "What is the number for 911?" * In the Disney animated movie Hercules, Hercules rescues two children from a cave-in in a gorge (which was actually a staged calamity to lure Hercules into danger), and one of the children can be heard saying; "Someone call IX I I", which are the Roman numerals for 9-1-1. * The American TV show Reno 9-1-1! Features Lt. Jim Dangle and the escapades of the Reno Sheriff's department on the Comedy Central Channel. 16:20, 2 November 2007 (UTC) Forgot to Log in Tony P 16:39, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

The number 9 autocompletes (or used to) to 911?[edit]

Several years ago I made an accidental 9-1-1 call. What happened is that the number I was calling began with a 9 (983 is an exchange prefix in southwest Michigan where I lived at the time). After dialing the 9, I stopped, trying to remember the rest of the number, and after a few seconds, I was automatically connected to 9-1-1. Needless to say I was surprised. It was a regular land line and I believe the provider at the time was Ameritech (this would have been around 1999 or 2000).

Does anybody have any information on this? Is a single 9 still automatically interpreted as a 9-1-1 call after a certain period of time with no further digits dialed? Is, or was it a nationwide policy, or maybe just a local quirk? I haven't been able to find any information on this, but if anybody can dig up a couple links, I'd be happy to add the information to the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:02, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Almost definitely a local quirk, either by accident or design. Or you dialed the 9, then accidentally flashed the hookswitch a couple of timesm which would be the equivalent of dialing 1-1. (talk) 12:12, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Not sure the odds the OP will come back 8 years later, but according to the page for 999, certain phone systems were specifically designed to auto-dial either 999 or an operator if only one or two 9's were pressed. It's possible someone did something similar in the U.S. with 911 calls. (talk) 08:59, 20 May 2015 (UTC)


If no one uses the dashes, but they are needed in the article title, then they should appear in the article title but not in the body of the article. -- Evertype· 10:46, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

9=5678394+367346+676989845+iu57894 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:57, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Content removed from lead[edit]

I've removed the following reasons to not call 911: flat tires, thefts that occurred in the past, noise complaints, suspicious people, etc.[1]. First, the source given doesn't support any of these assertions. Second, in some jurisdictions noise complaints and thefts are supposed to be reported to 911. Third, "suspicious people" is sometimes a good reason to call 911. The source promotes a "better safe than sorry" philosophy particularly as a message for children. Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 07:57, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

911 in Winnipeg[edit]

According to the Winnipeg Police History[1] the emergency number originally instituted in 1959 was actually 999. Should the article be edited to include this, or would it make more sense to remove this reference altogether, since it makes more sense on the emergency number page than the 911 page. Joe Canadian86 (talk) 18:53, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

October 2008 Assessment[edit]

A few small issues:

Apparent self-contradiction

"As a result, while widely announced as a national emergency telephone number, by 2008, coverage of the service was still not complete, and about 4 percent of the United States did not have 9-1-1 service.[11]" but the very next sentence says, "In over 98% of locations in the United States and Canada, dialing "911" from any telephone will link the caller to an emergency dispatch center." Since the U.S. is so much larger than Canada, it seems unlikely that even 100% coverage in Canada would make up for the 4% missing in the U.S. Also, that paragraph goes on to say that 96% of the U.S. has E911 coverage, which could only be true (compared to the first sentence) if basically no one in the U.S. has plain 911 coverage.

  • The word "you" should pretty much never appear in a Wikipedia article. We do not address the reader directly.
  • Some of the sections seem just a bit verbose. An effort at a plain copyedit, particularly with an eye towards removing extraneous or unimportant details, might not be a bad idea. (For example, does the reader really need to know the exact dates of various announcements in the history?)
References needed
  • Wireless telephones
  • Dialing patterns

Hope this helps, WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:18, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

November 2008 assessment[edit]

Things have improved some. I removed the remaining instances of "you" and made a few other corrections (notably, that they're federal laws, not Federal ones). It might be worth searching to see whether informal contractions like didn't still exist. This article is in an acceptable range for B class, but it will not reach GA without a thorough copyedit. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:05, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:9-1-1/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

This article does not meet the good article criteria and has too many issues, and has therefore failed its nomination. Issues include but are not limited to:

  • Too much unreferenced information
  • The lead is too short and needs to be expanded per WP:LEAD
  • Too much of "History" is unreferenced
  • "History" should be broken up into several sections to help organize it
  • Bold text should not be used in the article's body per WP:MOS
  • "Dialing patterns" has no references
  • References must include at least publishers per WP:CITE/ES

Once these issues have been resolved, please feel free to renominate it. Thanks! Gary King (talk) 04:28, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

I propose to add a link to the "See also" section of this article that points to an article I've just created: Next Generation 9-1-1. I'll wait a couple of days before doing so - please comment. I'm still working on that article, and would appreciate comments and suggestions on the article itself. NextGen911 (talk) 18:02, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

no thatz not true thats fake and dumb and stupid —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:43, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

When 9-1-1 became common?[edit]

One point I think that needs to be addressed, and I would do it except for the fact that I just do not know, is when 9-1-1 became common. I'm fairly certain that Atlanta didn't get 911 until at least after 1980, Houston did not get 911 until the mid-80s and I know that parts of Oklahoma did not get 911 until the mid to late 80s. I think that a discussion about the spread of 911 is essential here. Are there any small towns that actually still lack 911? Just some thoughts I feel should be addressed for anyone knowledgeable in the subject. MagnoliaSouth (talk) 03:53, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

I agree - With the passage of time we seem to be getting more and more people who don't realize that the 911 emergency number did not roll-out everywhere over a short space of time, but in fact over many years. There were still at least two or three rural counties in Georgia which didn't have 911 service into the 1990's, for example. (talk) 16:17, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Merge from Montgomery County 9-1-1[edit]

This article seems a superflous split from 9-1-1. I propose it is merged in to this parent article. (talk) 16:49, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

This will be a page specifically devoted to the 9-1-1 operation in Montgomery County, PA with statistics, demographics, and pictures. DPSWiki (talk) 16:56, 7 August 2010 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

During several automated bot runs the following external link was found to be unavailable. Please check if the link is in fact down and fix or remove it in that case!

--JeffGBot (talk) 21:43, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

Article Image[edit]

In the body of the article, there is an image labelled "Typical Work Station". Admittedly, I've only worked for law enforcement agencies in California and Arizona, and I started in the late 1990s, but in every agency I've worked for, had friends at, or done sit-a-longs in, that image would represent a museum piece. It would be a "typical" work station from the 1980s, not a current one. Both when I was a calltaker and as a dispatcher our consoles are more streamlined (to my eyes, the radio in that image is huge and boxy, at least 5 times the size of what I'm used to). Since I have limited experience with Comm Centers in the Midwest or on the East Coast, I'm asking: is that "typical" elsewhere in the country, or should the image be labelled differently or even removed? Onesweettart (talk) 21:43, 6 January 2012 (UTC)


People dialing 9-1-1 by mistake is a major problem in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. I hope my addition is acceptable. There may be other types of misdialing that belong in the section.— Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 20:50, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Broadcasting calls[edit]

It was nowhere near complete, but I did a lot of work adding information on efforts to stop actual calls from being broadcast. The explanation in the edit summary was that the information is available elsewhere. Anyone thinking it can be conveniently found under laws of individual states is likely sadly mistaken.— Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 20:52, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Suggested Sources[edit]

I just finished a 14-page term paper on the Enhanced 9-1-1 Systems for my Principles of Telephony class and wanted to share my sources. I did not want to take it upon myself and make changes without consulting others first. I am not familiar with the rules about how references are handled but I felt that they were were worth sharing. Some are from people who are active in 9-1-1 dispatch and others are very recent articles (found one on the same day it was published). All links were visited between 2013-07-15 to 2013-07-22.

  • "FAQ." 9-1-1 Enable. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
    • (
  • "Google Maps Update Useful For Dispatchers." Dispatch Magazine On-Line. 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-07-18.
    • (
  • "311 Non-Emergency Systems." Dispatch Magazine On-Line. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-18.
    • (
  • Davidson, Laurence Viele. Doyle, Timothy W. "Texas Sues Vonage After Crime Victim Unable to Call 911." The Washington Post. 2005-03-23. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
    • (
  • Evans, Jon. "e911." 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2013-07-17.
    • (
  • "911 Wireless Services." Federal Communications Commission. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
    • (
  • "Tech Topic 2: Internet Protocol (IP) Based Interoperability." Federal Communications Commission. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
    • (
  • "PSAP Registry." Federal Communications Commission. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
    • (
  • "Glossary of Terms and Definitions." Intrado Inc. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
    • (
  • Kirley, James. "It's a crime the way some people abuse 911 lines." Florida's Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches. 2010-08-01. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
    • (
  • Kelly, Heather. "911 text messaging service coming in 2014." 2012-12-07. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
    • (
  • Layton, Julia. "How 9-1-1 Works." How Stuff Works. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
    • (
  • "Cell Phones and 9-1-1." National Emergency Number Association. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-18.
    • (
  • "NG9-1-1 Project." National Emergency Number Association. n.d. Retrieved 2013-07-18.
    • (
  • "Appendix A 911 Glossary of Terms and Acronyms (Condensed from the National Emergency Number Association Master Glossary)." Northern Middlesex Council of Governments. 2011-12-31. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
    • (
  • "Texas Attorney General Abbott Takes Legal Action To Protect Internet Phone Customers." Office of the Attorney General. 2005-03-22. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
    • (

Please let me know if any of these are helpful and if there is anything else I help out with Psychomaze (talk) 18:13, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^