The concept of providing a three digit number for use in requesting emergency services originated in England in 1937. In 1958, the International Association of Fire Chiefs introduced the concept in the United States. The adoption of an abbreviated, uniform, easy-to-dial and easy-to-remember number for emergency services was recognized as an important public safety innovation.
In 1968, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement recommended the establishment of an emergency number, and the numbers “9-1-1” were reserved by AT&T for that purpose. In 1973, the Office of Telecommunications Policy issued a national policy statement recognizing the benefits of 9-1-1 and encouraging nationwide adoption of the number. The establishment of a single, 3-digit phone number for citizens in need of fire, medical or police emergency services has mandated a degree of unification and uniformity of operation among public safety entities, which were historically accustomed to functioning autonomously. Prior to 9-1-1 a citizen needing a fire department would dial that agency’s 7-digit number and the fire department’s internally developed protocols would govern how that call was handled. Now that caller in Pottawattamie County dials 9-1-1 for Law, Fire or Medical assistance.
When a citizen dials 9-1-1, the call is automatically routed to a pre-determined location, known as a Public Safety Answering Point [“PSAP”]. The call is answered by a call taker/dispatcher who determines the nature of the emergency and either handles the requests for emergency services or routes it to the appropriate public safety agency for emergency response.
When was 911 “invented?” The simple answer is: over 35 years ago. However, the development of the three-digit number in the United States is slightly more complex than a single date. Robert Fitzgerald and his colleagues implemented the first 911 system in Haleyville (Ala.) in 1968, with the first 911 call.
Each household or business pays a small fee for 911 service on each land line telephone line, collected on your monthly telephone bill. There is no per-call charge for calling 911. Currently the fee is $1.00 per month per line in Pottawattamie County.
Iowa E911 Program Wireline Surcharges Status:
69 Counties surcharge = $1.00
24 Counties surcharge > $1.00
4 Counties surcharge < $1.00
3 Counties surcharge = $0.00
Under the State of Iowa code, each Public Safety Answering Point has an Enhanced 911 Board to oversee the Enhanced 911 issues within the county. The Pottawattamie County Enhanced 911 Board is comprised of appointed representatives from communities within our service area.
The 2010 E911 Board Members:
911 Robert Andersen AVOCA Scott Pigsley CARSON Eric Weauve CARTER LAKE Russ Kramer COUNCIL BLUFFS Tom Hanafan CRESCENT Brian Shea ELLIOTT Dave Reynolds EMA Doug Reed GRISWOLD Jerry Putnam HANCOCK Jeff Gress LEWIS TOWSHIP Joh O’Connell MACEDONIA Terry Pullen McCLELLAND Dennis Magnuson MINDEN Tom Schneckloth MISSOURI VALLEY Johnnie Walker NEOLA Lon Ring OAKLAND Steve Hamilton OAK TOWNSHIP Scott Frye POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY Jeff Danker / John Reynolds SHELBY Brian Andersen TREYNOR Tom Lewis UNDERWOOD Greg Clausen WALNUT Dennis Brook SUPERVISORS Melvin Houser / Loren Knauss