911 Issues

Concerned woman calling 911

Using 911 Appropriately

While people are aware that they should call 911 in an emergency, they are less aware of the circumstances in which they should not call 911. The result is that many calls overload the system with non-emergency calls.

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Ensuring Access

Some callers face unique challenges in accessing optimum 911 services, such as people who are deaf and hearing-impaired and those in rural or large metropolitan areas.

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911 call taker looking at the camera and smiling

911 as a Profession

911 professionals, often described as the "first first responder," have special training to help callers in emergencies. They must be calm under pressure and able to take control of often unpredictable situations.

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DOT in 911 History

Since its inception, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been active in advocating for a system of emergency communication that supports the needs of the public and emergency responders.

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Operations & Training

More than 6,000 primary and secondary 911 call centers are staffed by call-takers, dispatchers, supervisors, technical professionals and others who work together to ensure that the 911 system works to meet public needs.

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Legislation, Funding & Policy

The nation's 911 systems are impacted by funding and legislative models charicterized by the old landline-based 911 system. New funding approaches that are technology-neutral and dedicated to 911 services will be essential to support upgrades to 911 technology.

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911 call taker looking at 6 screens and using a computer mouse

The Future of 911

As communication technologies have evolved to include wireless phones, text and picture messaging, video chat, social media, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) devices and more, the public expects that 911 services will also be able to accept information from these communication methods.

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Firstnet Logo with symbols identifying radio waves, fire, emergency medical   services and law enforcement

911 & FirstNet

The coordination of NG911 and the National Public Safety Broadband Network initiative is essential to creating a seamless emergency communication system to connect the public to 911 and emergency responders.

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Close up photo of a man’s hands texting on a smart phone


Although significant efforts are underway, most people across the nation cannot reach 911 by sending a text from a wireless phone today. The FCC currently tracks the number and location of public safety answering points and call centers offering text-to-911.

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