The official emergency number in the United States and Canada is 9-1-1. Although the first 9-1-1 call was placed in Haleyville, Alabama in 1968, it was not until 1999 that the United States Congress directed the FCC to make 9-1-1 the universal emergency number in the United States for all telephone services. The 9-1-1 network is now a vital part of our nation's emergency response and disaster preparedness system. Emergency personnel and others often learn about emergencies through 9-1-1 calls. Dialing 9-1-1 quickly connects a caller to a nearby Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) dispatcher who is trained to route your call to local emergency medical, fire, and law enforcement agencies.
9-1-1 lines are designated for emergency calls, such as reporting a crime in progress, reporting a fire, or requesting an ambulance.
Using 9-1-1 for non-emergency calls may delay help for people caught in real emergencies. Some communities have designated the number 3-1-1 for non-emergency calls to police and other government services.
Information on communicating during emergencies and using 9-1-1 services:
- Communicating During Emergencies
- Wireless 9-1-1 Services
- VoIP and 9-1-1 Service
- Dispatch 9-1-1 - Do's and Don'ts of 9-1-1
- Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)
- Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA) - Wireless and 9-1-1
- A history and timeline of 9-1-1