Health and Safety Podcast Transcript: April 7, 2009

Fairfax County Podcasts 



Hello, and welcome to the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast for April 7, 2009. I’m Jim Person, Fairfax County emergency information officer. Coming up, learn about 9-1-1 and Public Safety Telecommunications Week here in Fairfax County. Links to topics mentioned in this podcast can be found online at


The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors designated April 13-19 as Public Safety Telecommunications Week in Fairfax County to recognize the men and women of 9-1-1 who every day are instrumental in helping to save countless lives by dispatching law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency medical services personnel.

Although 9-1-1 is familiar as the number to call for a police, fire and rescue or medical emergency, there is much about 9-1-1 that you may not know.

For example:

  • The concept of 9-1-1 was first utilized in the United Kingdom in 1937, using the number 999.
  • In 1957, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, now headquartered in Fairfax County, petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to establish a three-digit universal emergency number in the U.S.
  • In 1958, the FCC reserved 9-1-1 for use by any jurisdiction electing to establish a three-digit emergency number to call for police, fire rescue or emergency medical services.
  • In 1968, AT&T announced that it would establish the digits 9-1-1 as the emergency code throughout the United States.
  • In the mid-1970s, cities and counties in the metropolitan Washington area began to implement 9-1-1. Fairfax County adopted 9-1-1 in 1981.

The Fairfax County 9-1-1 Center is the largest in Virginia and is recognized as a “best in class” agency.

In 2008, the 9-1-1 Center received more than 378,000 9-1-1 calls and more than 414,000 non-emergency calls. 58.5% of the 9-1-1 calls received were from wireless phones, 33.1% were from traditional wire line phones, and 1.0% by Voice Over Internet Protocol.

Last year, the Department of Public Safety Communications dispatched more than 1,030,000 police calls and more than 171,000 fire rescue and emergency medical services calls.

Department of Public Safety Communications personnel are certified as 9-1-1 call takers, police dispatchers, and fire rescue/EMS. They also maintain unit status of Sheriff’s deputies; are animal services dispatchers; provide emergency medical dispatch/pre-arrival instructions offering life saving medical instructions to callers over the phone; are teletype operators; facilitate language interpretation with non-English speakers; and are hostage negotiators.

“Fairfax County’s 9-1-1…always there…always ready…24/7/365.”


That’s it for this edition of the Fairfax County Health and Safety Podcast, produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia government. Thanks for listening. Additional information about health and safety topics and emergency preparedness may be found online at And remember, if you have a police, fire or medical emergency, call 9-1-1. For non-emergency needs, call 703-691-2131.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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