Obviously, Sept. 11th will never be the same. It was originally designated as National 9-1-1 Day, but the terrorist attacks of 2001 has shifted the focus considerably. President George W. Bush proclaimed Sept. 11th as "Patriot Day," and it's expected that--understandably--national celebrations will focus on the first responders who handled the terrorist attacks, and first responders across the nation. updated 11/10/04
Nevertheless, there is still room for attention to the nation's 911 system, public safety dispatchers, and the fact that public safety communications is important to the nation's defense. Despite the changed atmosphere, comm centers should still undertake a public education campaign for the day, perhaps holding an open house, giving interviews and otherwise informing the public. The emphasis should be on "We're Prepared," stressing the personnel and resources that are ready to take their call reporting any type of emergency. There should also be a focus on the dispatchers and first responders who handled the terrorist attacks, and how their example is typical of our nation's public safety personnel.
With all this in mind, the remainder of this page presents the information that was posted--and which is still relevant--before Sept. 11, 2001.
Every year on September 11th the nation's public safety communications centers celebrate National 911 Emergency Number Day! Why was this date selected? Well, if you use all numbers to describe the date, you'll realize why: 9-11-2002.
The day was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 with Public Law 99-448, and has been celebrated ever since.
Here are some of the activities and events we've heard of:
- The Mid-America Regional Council (Mo. & Kan.) hosted a tailgate
party before the Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers baseball game in
2000. The event will be held at the KC Zoo.
- Southern California dispatchers attended an Anaheim Angels baseball
game during 1999 and 2000.
- In Phoenix (Ariz.), dispatchers attended an Diamondbacks baseball game
on the 11th, preceded by an awards presentation at the State Capitol that
included Cyndy Ducote of the Central Yavapai Fire District, who handled
an emergency incident involving one of her own family members.
- Also in Phoenix, Diamondbacks third baseman Matt Williams and manager
Buck Showalter appeared in public service announcements asking accidental
wireless 911 callers to stay on the line until the dispatcher answers--don't
hang up immediately. Officials estimate that Phoenix area comm centers
field 500 calls a day where a person accidentally dials with his/her cellular
phone, then hangs up. [Arizona
- Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt declared September 11th as "911 Day"
in honor and recognition of 9-1-1 emergency operators, public safety dispatchers,
telecommunicators and call takers, and the vital contributions they
make to the safety and well-being of Utah's citizens. "Please take
this opportunity to recognize and honor each of your 911 emergency
operators, public safety dispatchers, telecommunicators, and call takers
for their hard work and dedication," the governor's declaration said.
- The Matchbox division of Mattel, Inc. has partnered with the Safe Kids Campaign to produce a tri-fold color flyer with tips on 911 and safety. [Acrobat format, 2.2 Mb]
- The state of Texas holds an annual 911 Appreciation Day to honor telecommunicators and promote public education. updated
- The National Institutes of Health (HIH) supports National 911 Day in connection with improved health care.
We hope other agencies are using this time to educate residents about
911, and the PSAPs and personnel who handle their calls. It's a great opportunity!