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City of Worcester, MA

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Today Marks the 50th Anniversary of the First 911 Call Ever Made

For Immediate Release: 2/16/2018 1:12 pm

In November 1967, the FCC met with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) to find a means of establishing a universal emergency number that could be implemented quickly.

In 1968, AT&T announced that it would establish the digits 911 (nine-one-one) as the emergency code throughout the United States.

The code 911 was chosen because it best fit the needs of all parties involved. First, and most important, it met public requirements because it is brief, easily remembered and can be dialed quickly. Second, because it is a unique number, never having been authorized as an office code, area code or service code, it best met the long range numbering plans and switching configurations of the telephone industry.

Congress backed AT&T's proposal and passed legislation allowing use of only the numbers 911 when creating a single emergency calling service, thereby making 911 a standard emergency number nationwide.

The first call was placed as a test call from Haleyville, Alabama at 2 p.m., on February 16, 1968.

Today, more than 96% of the geographical U.S. is covered by some type of 911 service.

Worcester's Emergency Communications Department employs more than fifty full time 911 dispatchers who work around the clock, processing nearly 90,000 911 calls annually.

City of Worcester
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Monday - Friday
7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
508-929-1300
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