9-1-1 celebrates 52nd birthday

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- 52 years ago on Feb. 16, 1968, the first ever 9-1-1 call was placed in Haleyville, Alabama.

The three-digit telephone number is designated the Universal Emergency Number for citizens to request emergency assistance.

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The telephone number has helped citizens across the country and has only improved since its development.

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) reports, “An estimated 240 million calls are made to 9-1-1 in the U.S. each year.”

NENA says the idea behind the phone number came about because the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended it to report fires.

NENA adds that just one year later, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended the number be used across the country.

The Universal Emergency Number was soon supported and encouraged by several government officials leading to the first 9-1-1 system in Alabama, which is still in use today.

NENA says in March 1973, the White House’s Office of Telecommunications encouraged and supported the nationwide adoption of 9-1-1.