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Licking County 911
"911, what is your emergency"? We may take these words for granted today but it wasn't always so. Up until 1967, there was no single number to call for emergencies. Then in 1967 President Lyndon Johnson's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice issued in its report, a recommendation that wherever practical, a single police telephone number should be established, at least within a metropolitan area and eventually over the entire United States. This number would be comparable to the telephone company's information number. In November of 1967, the concept of a single emergency telephone number worked its way to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and then to AT&T, which was the major telephone carrier at the time. On Friday, January 12, 1968, AT&T announced their designation of "9-1-1" as a universal emergency number at a Washington, D.C. press conference. Their plan would affect only the Bell companies and not independent telephone companies. Up until this point, the number "9-1-1" wasn't mentioned. The selection of "9-1-1" was probably based on a combination of factors, including no area codes began with the number "9"; the precedent of Great Britain's using a three digit number, the ease of dialing two ones on a rotary dial phone and other switching considerations.
On Friday, February 16, 1968, just 35 days after AT&T's announcement of "9-1-1", the first-ever "9-1-1" call was placed. Robert Fitzgerald, Inside State Plant Manager for the independent Alabama Telephone Company identified Haleyville, Alabama as the perfect site. He designed the circuitry and directed the effort to implement "9-1-1" in this northeastern Alabama city. Alabama Speaker of the House, Rankin Fite, placed the call from Haleyville City Hall to U.S. Representative Tom Bevill at the city's police station. Bevill reportedly answered the phone with, "hello". Robert Fitzgerald was at the Alabama Telephone Company (ATC) central office serving Haleyville, and actually observed the call pass through the switching gear, as the mechanical equipment clunked out "9-1-1". The phone used to answer the first "9-1-1" call was bright red and is now in a museum in Haleyville, while a duplicate phone is still in use at the police station.
Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD)
The Licking County 911 Center provides a trained Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) staff. To better understand what Emergency Medical Dispatching entails, we present the following discussion from The Position Paper of the National Association of Emergency Medical Services' Physicians entitled "Emergency Medical Dispatch".
"The Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) is the principal link between the public in need of emergency medical assistance and the EMS system. As such, the EMD plays a key role in the ability of the EMS system to respond to a perceived medical emergency. Most often, all of the information obtained is through telephone communications with callers, who often is distressed and out of control. The EMD must have the skills which allow her/him to match the personnel and equipment dispatched to the perceived emergency. Thus the EMD must be able to discern the nature and the urgency of the illness (es) and/or injury (ies) in a manner which allows selection of the most appropriate response configuration and mode.
Therefore, the EMD must possess special knowledge and a set of medical and technological skills that are unique for the EMS system. They need to have sufficient medical knowledge in lay terminology to acquire as appropriate medical history and be cognizant of all the characteristics inherent within the EMS system in which they function. Furthermore, recent studies indicate that EMDs may play a very important role in the provision of instructions by which a caller may initiate appropriate treatment and life support prior to the arrival of any of the EMS responding vehicles and personnel. The capable EMD provides "first responder" care through the surrogate caller. Such skills have been shown to help preserve lives, prevent further injuries and even assist with the delivery of babies. Without these specially trained, talented, dedicated and skilled professionals, an EMS system cannot function optimally.
The Licking County "9-1-1" Center experienced the delivery of a baby, via the telephone recently. The blessed event occurred on November 15, 2001, at approximately 10:00. Emergency Medical Dispatchers, Todd Swinehart and Ruth Ann McCoy diligently worked together as a team to deliver the baby in Southern Licking County by telephone.
Our goal for the coming year is to fully activate the EMD method in all calls received by the Licking County "9-1-1" Center.
Licking County Regional Communication Center
119 East Main St.
Newark, Ohio 43055
Office: 740-349-6758
Fax: 740-349-1659
Dave Ruton - 911 Technical Coordinator
Rob Terrill - Asst. 911 Coordinator
Nathan Bryan - 911 Shift Supervisor

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