Post Office Box 157
Brewton, AL 36427
Nicholas Beasley, Director
Rita Lehmann, Administrative Assistant
Enhanced 911, E-911 or E911 is a system used in North
America that links emergency
the appropriate public resources. The three-digit emergency telephone number originated in the United
Kingdom in 1937 and has spread to continents and countries across the globe. Other easy dial codes,
including the 112 number adopted by the European Union in 1991, have been deployed to provide
free-of-charge emergency calls.
In North America, where 9-1-1 was chosen as the easy access code, the system tries to automatically
associate a location with the origin of the call. This location may be a physical address or other
geographic reference information such as X/Y map coordinates. The caller's telephone number is used
in various ways to derive a location that can be used to dispatch police, fire, emergency medical and
other response resources. Automatic location of the emergency makes it quicker to locate the required
resources during fires, break-ins, kidnappings, and other events where communicating one's location
is difficult or impossible.
In North America the incoming 9-1-1 call is typically answered at the Public Safety Answering Point
(PSAP) of the governmental agency that has jurisdiction over the caller's location (see #Location
below). When the 9-1-1 call arrives at the appropriate PSAP, it is answered by a specially trained
official known as a Telecommunicator. In some jurisdictions the Telecommunicator is also the
dispatcher of public safety response resources. When the call arrives at the PSAP, special computer
software is used to display the location of the caller immediately upon arrival of the call.
The system only works in North America if the emergency telephone number 911 is called. Calls made to
other telephone numbers, even though they may be listed as an emergency telephone number, may not
enable this feature. Outside Canada and the United States this type of facility is often called
caller location, though its implementation is dependent on how the telephone network processes
A 911 address contains a uniform number, the street name, direction (if any) and the city. The
address number is assigned usually by the grid of the existing community. Each county usually has
their own guidelines on how the addressing is done, but for the most part NENA guidelines are
followed. These guidelines are expressed by the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG). The actual 911
addresses and associated phone numbers are put into the ALI database.
Address signage standards
In addition to upgrading communications systems, many counties and communities in the U.S. have
implemented ordinances requiring property owners to standardize the display of house numbers on
buildings and along streets and roadways, to allow emergency personnel to more easily locate a given
address day or night, even in poor weather. These generally consist of reflective characters, at
least 3 to 6 inches high, on a contrasting reflective background. It is necessary for the address
number to be affixed to the building or to a separate structure such as a post, wall or fence;
provided that such separate structure is located in front of the building and on the building's side
of the street.