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911 always available for emergencies

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The history of 911 can be traced as far back as Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson; unconfirmed history reports the first call for help occurred while the two inventors were working on the first telephonic equipment.

Mr. Bell had spilled battery acid on his clothes and said the famous words, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you!" Watson heard this through the experimental transmitter and rushed to his mentor's side.

This account is a prime example of the importance of 911 in everyday life.

Fortunately, times have changed for the better. In 1957, the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended the establishment of a universal telephone number to report fires and by 1968, 911 was instituted as a number for reporting all emergency situations.

The first 911 call occurred Feb. 16, 1968, in Haleyville, Ala., when Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite called U.S. Representative Tom Bevill at the city's police station - signifying one small step for first responders and one giant leap for those in need.

Let's fast forward to the present. Moody's 911 is available to anyone on the installation involved in an emergency. It is staffed with nationally accredited emergency dispatchers, with professionals from the fire department, security forces and emergency medical services at their fingertips. These men and women are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help create calm from your chaos.

I will not get into specifics as when to dial 911, because each definition of emergency differs. When an emergency occurs, be ready to provide a few basic pieces of information:
- Nature of emergency (what exactly happened or is happening)
- Location (be as specific as possible)
- Name
- Call back number
- Do not hang up unless advised by the dispatcher
- When dialing 911 from a military family housing or base lodging facilities, your call will be answered by the Lowndes County 911 Center. Be prepared to convey the appropriate information above and reinforce that you are located at Moody. The dispatcher will contact the base with your information.

Dialing 911 from a cell phone will not always result in routing to the closest emergency dispatch center (Moody 911 does not have this capability). Therefore, be prepared with appropriate information if this happens to you.