Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of First 9-1-1 Call at NENA’s “9-1-1 Goes to Washington” Conference

February 20, 2018
NENA’s “9-1-1 Goes to Washington” event commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 call, which was made on Feb. 16, 1968 from a rotary style phone in Haleyville, AL.
NENA’s “9-1-1 Goes to Washington” event commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 call, which was made on Feb. 16, 1968 from a rotary style phone in Haleyville, AL.
By William Hinkle, FirstNet Senior 9-1-1 Advisor

Last week, the NENA: the 911 Association (NENA) and the NG 9-1-1 Institute jointly held its annual “9-1-1 Goes to Washington” event for hundreds of public safety communications officials. Without fail, the event provides a unique networking opportunity for first responders to meet with Members of Congress and Congressional staff, and to learn about important federal initiatives and policy discussions impacting the needs of 9-1-1 centers and the public safety community.

This year’s event, held Feb. 14-17 in Washington D.C., took on special meaning as we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 call placed on February 16, 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama. Fast forward 50 years and an estimated 240 million calls are made to 9-1-1 in the U.S. every year. And in many areas, 80% or more of those 9-1-1 calls are from wireless devices, according to NENA.  

Throughout the week, many in attendance reflected on the significance of this anniversary and what it means for the future of 9-1-1. With advancements in text to 9-1-1 and next generation 9-1-1, it is clear that public safety services are poised to evolve along with technology and innovation.

FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network, will also play a key role in the digital technology transformation of public safety communications. The network will modernize communications for first responders, including public safety answer points and dispatchers. It will provide first responders a secure and dedicated wireless broadband connection so they can communicate with each other during emergencies when commercial wireless networks can become congested and unavailable. FirstNet will enable more efficient response and ultimately help to save lives and property.

As last week’s 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 call held great significance in our community, it’s a reminder that each day is reason to commemorate the countless men and women who serve as 9-1-1 public safety telecommunicators and dispatchers, and those who work to support these services to save lives each and every day. The First Responder Network Authority is proud to work hand-in-hand with the 9-1-1 community to ensure FirstNet meets their needs as we deploy the network across the country.

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