General Dynamics - Pathfinder Ad

9-1-1 Magazine: Managing Emergency Communications

Priority Dispatch

Navigator 2018




Stratus Technologies

CAD, NG911 & Records Management


Recording Systems


Facilities Planning and Design

First Contact 911

Training Trends & Tactics




Holland Co     
Mobile Command Vehicles



Today is the 48th Anniversary of 9-1-1 in the USA

Date: 2016-02-16
Share |

The first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system in the USA went into service on this date - Feburary 16th - in 1968, in Haleyville, Alabama.

It was only 35 days after AT&T had announced their designation of 9-1-1 as a universal emergency number in the United States, following the adoption of similar 3-digit emergency numbers in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s and early 1960s (9-9-9 in Australia, New Zealand, and Winnipeg, Ontario in 1957-59, although Great Britain had implemented a 9-9-9  number as early as 1937).  AT&T selected 9-1-1 presumably because on rotary telephones it took less time for the dial to return when dialing "1" than "9" and thus the call was made quicker.

The first 9-1-1 call was made on February 16, 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama. Happy 48th Birthday, 9-1-1 !!! The image shows the local 2005 9-1-1 festival in Haleyville.

The first-ever 9-1-1 call in the US was placed by Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite from Haleville City Hall to U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill at the city's police station. Bevill reportedly answered the phone with "Hello." Attending with Fite was Haleville mayor James Whitt. At the police station with Bevill was Bob Gallagher, President of the Alabama Telephone (whose idea it was to beat AT&T to the punch by hurriedly building a 9-1-1 system in Haleyville instead of at AT&T's choice of Huntington, Indiana) and Eugene "Bull" Connor, Alabama Public Service Commission director and former Birmingham Police Chief (who had been involved in the federal desegregation of the city's schools). Robert Fitzgerald, Gallagher's inside plant manager who had built Haleyville's 9-1-1 system, was at the ATC central office serving Haleyville, and actually observed the call pass through the switching gear, as the mechanical equipment clunked out "9-1-1." The phone used to answer the first 9-1-1 call, a bright red model, is now in a museum in Haleyville. Some accounts of the event claim that, "Later, the two (Bevill and Fite) said they exchanged greetings, hung up and 'had coffee and doughnuts.'"


- People, Places & Things/ (2/16/16)


Show: Newest | Oldest

Post a Comment

Log in or sign up to comment

9-1-1 Magazine is a Sponsor of the California Mobile Command Center Rally

Send mail to with questions or comments about this portal.

© 2010-2017 9-1-1 MAGAZINE and The content of this portal is the property of 9-1-1 MAGAZINE and  We encourage government public-safety agencies to share any content with their staff, however, all others must not duplicate or modify any content without prior written consent of 9-1-1 MAGAZINE. Email for permissions. For more information, read the Terms of Service. Continued access of this portal and system implies consent to the above statements and those maintained on the Terms of Service.

Powered by Solata

MCM Consulting Yellow Submarine Marketing

 Team Rennick