S.800 Signed into Law


Contact: Sonya Carius, (800) 332-3911

Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act (S.800) isSigned Into Law—9-1-1 is Now The Universal Emergency Phone Number

Columbus, Ohio (October 26, 1999)—Today, President Clinton signed SenateBill 800 (S.800), officially making 9-1-1 the universal emergency number forAmerica. Previously, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S.800 in a 424 totwo vote, with the support of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA)and other public safety organizations. The Law, known as the WirelessCommunications and Public Safety Act of 1999, is now final.

The Law is important for Public Safety officials because it recognizes 9-1-1as the universal emergency telephone number in the United States. Thisdesignation applies to both wireline/land line and wireless telephone services.The new law is considered a building block for an eventual end-to-end emergencyresponse system in America,” said William H. Hinkle, NENA’s President.

The Law should spur the implementation of location technology for 9-1-1 callsas well,” Hinkle said. “The Law provides wireless users, operators andtelephone companies the same protection from liability that is currently enjoyedby wireless telephone companies,” noted William H. Hinkle, president ofNENA. “This protection will now allow wireless carriers to move forward inproviding critical life saving technology for the benefit of the Americanpublic. We applaud the President’s signing of this Bill.”

“NENA also is grateful to the members of congress, especially SenatorConrad Burns, Representatives Tom Bliley, Billy Tauzin, John Dingell, Ed Markey,John Shimkus and Speaker Hastert, and Senators John McCain, Byron Dorgan,Majority Leader Lott and Assistant Majority Leader Nickles, who had theforesight to extend the benefits of 9-1-1 services to America’s wirelessusers,” Hinkle concluded.

The S.800 legislation is available in PDF format on the NENA web page atwww.nena.org.

* * *

The National Emergency Number Association, a not-for-profit corporation, wasfounded in 1982 as a result of the first three national 9-1-1 meetings and tofurther the goal of “One Nation, One Number.” NENA has experiencedtremendous growth within a short time. Its membership tops 6,700 and continuesto climb with new chapters joining its present 45-chapter network.

NENA’s Mission is to foster the technological advancement, availability andimplementation of a universal emergency telephone number system. In carrying outits mission, NENA promotes research, planning, training and education. Theprotection of human life, the preservation of property, and the maintenance ofgeneral community security are among NENA’s objectives.