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Emergency Services Dispatchers


The first voice-generated emergency request for assistance occurred around 1907, according to the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies. The communications giant Ericsson Incorporated developed a portable phone handset and crank that could be connected to bare phone wires and send a signal to another individual. This invention was used to report and thwart a train robbery.

Dispatchers have played an important role at police and fire departments for decades, but their role became more standardized after the 911 system that we know today came into existence in the late 1960s. On February 16, 1968, the first 911 call was made in the United States in Haleyville, Alabama, according to the National Emergency Number Association. By 1979, approximately 29 percent of the U.S. population had 911 service. Today, 99.4 percent of the U.S. is covered by some form of 911.