The 911 call turns 50

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On the 50th anniversary of America's first 911 call, San Jose's police chief and acting fire chief came together Friday to recognize the city's call-takers. (KGO-TV)

On the 50th anniversary of America's first 911 call, San Jose's police chief and acting fire chief came together to recognize those who are typically the first point of contact for residents during emergency situations.

ABC7 News was at the San Jose Police Department Communications Center Friday as dispatchers and call takers were honored for their work. We spoke to a couple of staffers who shared what it's like to work under such intense situations. They also explained how technology has evolved and continues to impact them on a daily basis.

RELATED: Alameda County Sheriff's Office rolls out text to 911

For example, with the invention of the cell phone, call takers now find themselves having to field more cases than ever before. In the past, when there was a fire, the center may have received three to four calls.

Now, they might get upwards of 50 calls for just one instance. Despite the extra workload, the center is committed to screening each and every phone call to ensure the proper response.

San Jose call takers answer 565,000 emergency calls and 380,000 non-emergency calls on an annual basis. The city is currently working on implementing a 'text to 911' feature within the coming months. Down the road, San Jose hopes to incorporate next-gen software that would also enable callers to submit videos to the communications center, among other features.

The nation's first 9-1-1 call was placed on February 16, 1968, in Haleyville, Ala. California's statewide system initially launched in 1972, but wasn't fully completed until 1985.
Related Topics:
societycrimesafety911 callnursesdoctorsbuzzworthySan Jose
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