“How to Dial “911″ Around the World”

“How to Dial “911″ Around the World”

by Carlos Alcos via “Matador Network

 

Perhaps it’s the “it’ll never happen to me” syndrome why many of us travelers aren’t as prepared as we should be. If you’re in Thailand, Spain, or Bolivia, would you know what number to dial to get some emergency service?

Some history

In 1937, London became the first city to introduce a system where callers could dial a short 3-digit number to get immediate help. They chose 999 as it was difficult to accidentally dial on the old pulse-dial phones. Calling 999 alerted a switch-board operator by sounding a buzzer and flashing a red light.

The first 911 system in North America was set up in Winnipeg, Canada in 1959 and, nine years later, Alabama and Alaska followed suit to bring it to the US. It wasn’t until the 1980s that 911 became a standard under the North American Numbering Plan.

There were many obstacles to overcome such as being routed to the wrong jurisdiction, but with switching technological advances, almost every single location in North America has an accurate 911 service today. . . . .

 

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