History of the 9-1-1 System
The first 9-1-1 call was made February 16, 1968, in the Haleyville, Alabama, City Hall by Alabama speaker of the House Rankin Fite to U.S. Representative Tom Bevill at the city's police station.
Finding a Number
In 1967, the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended the creation of a single, universal number that could be used from coast-to-coast to report emergencies. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was then charged with spearheading this bold initiative. In turn, the FCC met with AT&T in November of that year in order to devise a solution.
In the first days of 1968, AT&T chose a brief, easy to remember, and simple to dial number: 9-1-1. In Alabama, then president of the independent Alabama Telephone Corporation (ATC), Bob Gallagher, read a report of the AT&T 9-1-1 announcement in the Wall Street Journal. Gallagher’s entrepreneurial and competitive nature moved him to be the first to implement the 9-1-1 service. An ATC employee, Robert Fitzgerald, recommended Haleyville as the launch site. Gallagher later issued a press release announcing that the 9-1-1 service would go live in Haleyville on February 16, 1968. Circuitry work and installation were both quickly completed, and just 35 days after AT&T's announcement, the first-ever 9-1-1 call was placed.
This information is courtesy of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA)