Reflections on 50 Years of 9-1-1

Posted by Pierre Plangger | President on February 16, 2018

Milestones are interesting. Every now and then one comes up that makes you stop and think about how we got where we are and, sometimes, what the future will bring. 

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 call in the U.S., and it’s hard to believe that 50 years have passed since that first call in Haleyville, Alabama. During that time, the emergency response process has been changed by the call handling and management technology that enables Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to answer calls. Although the technology is important, it is really only an enabler — one half of the equation. The other half — the response side — starts with the call taker who answers the call and has to determine what the emergency is, where it is, and how best to deal with it.

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