By Sheriff Scott Henriod WPCSO 

February 16, 1968 doesn’t ring a bell for most American’s, but it’s a date that we should all take notice of and reflect on how it has changed the lives of many. So what does that date represent?

Well on that date Alabama Senator Rankin Fite made the first 911 call in the United States in Haleyville, Alabama. The Alabama telephone company carried the call and a week later Nome Alaska implemented the first 911 system.

In 1973 the White House’s Office of Telecommunication issued a national statement supporting the use of 911 and pushed for the establishment of the Federal Information Act to assist government agencies in implementing the system. By 1999 93 percent of the US population was covered by the 911 service. The number 911 is now the universal emergency number for everyone in the United States. Prior to that there was not a standard emergency number. The FCC met with AT&T to establish the emergency 911 number. They wanted the number short and easy to remember. More importantly they needed a unique number and since 911 had never been designated for an office code, area code or service code, that number was chosen.

Statically over 240 million 911 calls are made to emergency calls centers nationwide yearly.  These calls are then relayed to the proper emergency responder, being police, fire, ambulance, and any other type of emergency service. So take a moment and give thanks for the innovative idea that came about 50 years ago.