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911, 411, ..hmmm what else?

Why not 811, 711,611, or even 4 for that matter?
  (+8, -4)
(+8, -4)
  [vote for,

I live in a suburb of DC. Unless you live in a cave you've probably heard about the shootings. Police are begging for people to submit any information they have. They have setup a "TIPLINE" for this. But guess what, people can't remember, or find, the number when they have a tip... so what do they do? Call 911 of course.

This is all but crippling the local 911 system, and police are begging for people not to use 911 for tips (and rightly so), but they are required to memorize a 10 digit number instead.

Wouldn't it be easy to designate a number like 811 for such emergencies as this? At any one time there is probably no more than a few "nation-wide" hot topics. I certainly could remember to call 811 if I had any information about the current problem.

Sure there are subtleties to implementing this, but I'm confident it could be done.

soster, Oct 11 2002

"Help Is Just Three Digits Away" http://www.uwnyc.or...ws/pf_v5_n2_a4.html
N11 Code Assignments: 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711, 811, 911 [half, Oct 11 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

311 http://www.311.com
[waugsqueke, Oct 11 2002]

NYC's 311 Service http://www.nyc.gov/...out/about_311.shtml
All sorts of help, from emergencies to local government information, in 170 languages. Sounds like what you're after. [DrCurry, Jun 25 2005]


       611 used to be directory information. (Now you get a recorded message asking you to dial a new, 7-digit number.)
DrCurry, Oct 11 2002

       <Looks around apartment>I'm still hoping the murderer (sniper is a term I reserve for *real* snipers) gets my ex-wife. Just got an email indicating her new address, along with a reminder to *send that money*. Lemme see... how many homes has she purchased now... ah yes, this is home #6. All upgrades of course. Guess the other spectacular homes with equally spectacular views weren't good enough.</Looks around apartment>
thumbwax, Oct 12 2002

       611 is still repair service. Back when I was a kid, we used to hijack its after-hours auto-dialer forwarder, and we made like infinity free long distance calls. Back when long distance mattered.
ninehigh, Jun 24 2005

       The _11's should all be routed to the same company, but the caller selects the level of emergency by what number he calls. Thus, if operators have a lot of emergencies and the "211" light lights up, they know it's not real serious and so they can ignore it.
phundug, Jun 27 2005

       In the UK we used to only have 999 as the emergency number here. We now have 911 for visiting Americans and 112 for visting Europeans...How hospitable!!
Minimal, Jun 27 2005

       911 is NOT for the emergency service in the UK
po, Jun 27 2005

       112 works in UK for the Euro-types, and is also the emergency number in Oz, I believe.
angel, Jun 27 2005

       I think that would be 000 in Oz, [angel]
pertinax, Jun 28 2006

       //911 is NOT for the emergency service in the UK//   

       It is not, but it always used to work although I have not tried it recently.   

       The reason is all emergency calls in the UK go over a completely separate trunk network (or used to at least) and a completely separate set of cables and infrastructure from the exchange onwards. This trunk was accessed by the digit 9. After that, it never mattered what other two digits you dialed, it would accept anything and route you straight to the emergency operator.   

       This allows the government to completely switch off the PSTN in times of national crisis whilst still keeping the emergency services on-line.   

       Lines are also graded in the UK so that at any time residential and non-essesntial business lines can be switched off whilst still keeping connections for the police and hospitals, doctors etc. Hospitals also tend to have there own private telephone network. Most are then linked to the next neihbouring hospital.
webfishrune, Jun 28 2006

       311 should be taken national by federal initiative (good candidate for stimulus spending that actually does something other than enrich bankers) and then promoted until it is as well known as 911 or 411.   

       Tied to the same mechanisms that allow 911 calls to reach local entities by landline or cell, 311 could be a powerful tool in promoting participation in local affairs and in making access to services for minor emergencies faster and more convenient.   

       It should be expanded so that private industry providing emergency services (road service, on-scene insurance hotlines, etc) and nonprofits (lost pets, maybe?) can have their local offices quickly routed to by the operator, or (were they to add one) a menu system for commonly needed services. (e.g. hit * after dialing brings you to a menu of select services.)   

       While the OP seemed not aware of 311, up-recced for being the halfbaker who correctly called attention to a good idea that has not yet met its full potential.
skids, Dec 17 2009

       I get to try out 311 tomorrow... I am *not* looking forward to voice-menu'ing through the entire local government though as I think is going to happen.
FlyingToaster, Dec 18 2009

       I think that 911 operators should have 2 adjacent buttons (to prevent accidental pushing, both have to be pressed) for transfers to police tip lines and such. When you're transferred by the operator, a recording will be played instead of a phone ring, saying something like "You have been transferred to the non-emergency police line. In the future, please use 911 only for situations that require police, fire, or medical officials to actually come to your location. We recommend adding police tip-line numbers to your speed dial, address book, or writing it down on a piece of paper near your phone. If you do not know who to call, but no emergency response team is required, please dial the operator or 411 for information. Thank you for your cooperation."   

       This will immediately free that operator's console from that call. If an answer is not received from whatever the 911 operator redirected you to, a message will be left at that location requesting that they call back ASAP.
Dickcheney6, Jan 23 2010

       In Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic it was:   

       01 - Fire
02 - Police
03 - Ambulance

       The numbers were quite convenient, and easy to remember.
Inyuki, Jan 30 2010


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