911 Calls

By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Olivia Whitmire

Calling into 911 saves lives everyday, but most wouldn’t know that the first 911 call in the United States was made right here in Alabama.

At 2 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, 1968, the first 911 call in our country was made in Haleyville.

“In the beginning, we simply wanted to know where it was at and maybe got a telephone number,” said Richard Schreiber of Northstar EMS. “Now we’ve learned that we need to get name, address, phone number ask the caller exactly what happened. It’s changed so much, everything’s changed so much in these last 50 years. We went from we’re just gonna notify people about fires and maybe a break in or something like that and now we’re having to provide all kinds of social services.”

Some calls used to take five to six minutes, but with technological improvements help can be on the way in seconds.

“911 plays a key role in about everything that emergency services does,” Schreiber said. “They’re the true first responders, they’re the very first because they’re the ones talking to you and they’re the ones gathering information.”

It’s important to stay calm and not panic while being questioned by first responders, and the most important thing to remember is if you see something, say something.

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