1967 - The President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommends the establishment of a nationwide single number for the purpose of reporting emergencies. An early proposal, called for a different phone number for each type of emergency, but that idea was struck down because it contradicted the purpose of a single, universal number. Several politicians and government agencies expressed interest and the Federal Communications Commission is consulted for a resolve.
November, 1967 - AT&T and the FCC meet to discuss the rapid introduction of a nationwide emergency number.
1968 - AT&T announces 9-1-1 as the nationwide emergency number. 9-1-1 was chosen because it is easily remembered and at the time no area codes or office codes used it. Congress agrees with AT&T and passes a bill which reserves the number for nationwide use. The cost of updating telephone company equipment is offset by a fee included into a phone subscriber's base rate.
February 16, 1968 - Alabama Telephone Company becomes the first telephone service to implement 9-1-1. Senator Rankin Fite dials the first 9-1-1 call from a phone in Haleyville, Al.
1970 - The city of Columbia first considers a 9-1-1 system.
1972 - A 9-1-1 system is implemented for Columbia dialing prefixes only.
Early 1970s - Alameda County, California becomes the testing location for a new pilot program introduced by AT&T called "selective call routing". This is the beginning of Enhanced 9-1-1.
1976 - More than one quarter of the United States has 9-1-1 service. Nine states have legislation enacted for the emergency number. Seventy new 9-1-1 centers a year are being established.
1986 - 9-1-1 service is extended to all of Boone County. Enhanced 9-1-1 is installed allowing every 9-1-1 call placed from a phone in Boone County to be traced to the location from which it originated.
1987 - 59% of the United States has 9-1-1 service.
1987 - Canada creates its own nationwide emergency number service and adopts 911 as well.
Today - About 95% of the United States has 9-1-1 access. Of that number, 95% of the 9-1-1 service is enhanced (selective call routing with number and location identification).
Tomorrow - Legislation is already passed in many states requiring cell phones to be compliant with local indexes for the enhanced 9-1-1 system by 2004. This means any cellular telephone that dials 9-1-1 should be able to identify its number to the system and be located within a hundred yards or less.