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A major milestone: 911 turns 50!

Phone that made the first 911 call in the United StatesIt’s a lifeline we’ve come to depend on. There are entire generations of Americans that can’t remember a time before 911 was available. As young children, we were taught how to dial those three numbers when we needed help. And today, public safety across the nation are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first 911 call. The historic event happened in Haleyville, Alabama. And in the years that followed, the service became available nationwide.

Since then, 911 technology has evolved in Minnesota with a focus on keeping up with the technology at our fingertips as well as meeting the needs of the public. That is why Minnesota has become an early adopter of Next Generation 911 technology such as:

Read more about the history of 911 in Minnesota.

Supporting Super Bowl LII Communications

ecn super bowl comms4.jpg
When a large event comes to town, plenty takes place behind-the-scenes to make it a success. For ECN during the Super Bowl, that included providing equipment from Strategic Technology Reserves to city, county, state and federal public safety agencies. The equipment included radios for Minnesota’s ARMER (Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response) system, along with chargers and batteries to run them.

They may look like walkie-talkies to the average person. But, these ARMER radios have designated and secure channels so personnel from the TSA, National Guard and law enforcement could exchange vital information at a moment’s notice. ARMER radios were used in the following locations for the Super Bowl:

  • US Bank Stadium
  • Minneapolis Convention Center
  • Nicollet Mall
  • Metro Transit buses and the light rail trains
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
In addition to providing equipment, 20 ECN trained Communications Leaders (COML’s) and a handful of Communications Technicians (COMT’s) worked to ensure the ARMER system and all equipment worked properly.  


The 411 on Minnesota’s Wireless and Emergency Alerts

John Dooley answers questions about IPAWS

When an emergency happens in Minnesota, it’s the responsibility of public safety officials to inform the public right away. The goal? To get the right information to the right people at the right time so they can make the right decisions. Minnesota counties, tribal nations and even the state accomplish this task through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

Alerts on your cell phone are called wireless emergency alerts (or WEA) and alerts on the radio or TV are part of the emergency alert system (or EAS). Both are notifications sent by counties, tribal nations or the state through IPAWS.

Learn more about Minnesota’s system and how safeguards could prevent a false alarm from happening here.    

SAFECOM Nationwide Survey

The Department of Public Safety Emergency Communication Networks division encourages Minnesota’s public safety community to complete the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey.

The SAFECOM Nationwide Survey (SNS) is a nationwide effort to obtain critical information  that will ultimately drive our nation’s emergency communication policies, programs and funding. The SNS is directed at emergency response organizations with a public safety-related mission in law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, and public safety answering points and communications centers.

Watch this SNS video to learn more.

A link to the SNS can be found on the SAFECOM website. The survey will be available into February 2018 to ensure agencies have enough time to participate.