To you, February 16th seems like any ordinary day...but, to the Benton County Sheriff's Office and law enforcement and emergency personnel, it's a really cool day worth celebrating.

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According to the Benton County Sheriff's Office official Facebook page, today is the 53rd birthday of 9-1-1 being established. That's pretty neat, huh?

Dispatch here celebrating a very special birthday! Today, 9-1-1 turns 53 years old. On February 16, 1968, Senator...

Posted by Benton County Sheriff's Office on Monday, February 15, 2021

On February 16, 1968, Senator Rankin Fite made the first emergency call via 9-1-1 in the United States. It's kind of mind blowing to think that something so vital to our society is only 53. What did people do before that?

Well, I Googled it. According to, before 9-1-1 people had to call a local 10-digit phone number to get help from law enforcement or medical staff. And, that number was different everywhere. Yeah, what a total nightmare that would be. Just imagine being in a new town and you've got an emergency situation unfolding...and you have to track down a PHONE BOOK and find the number. YIKES. Some of us don't even know what a phone book is anymore.

According to NENA, the 9-1-1 Association, the three specific numbers were picked because it fit the needs of everyone. The public needed a number they could remember easily in an emergency and "second, because it is a unique number, never having been authorized as an office code, area code, or service code, it best met the long range numbering plans and switching configurations of the telephone industry."

Thanks to Benton County Sheriff's Office for reminding us about a really cool birthday happening today. And, here's to hoping you won't need to use it anytime soon.

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