The 9/11 Disasters and the Birth of NG9-1-1

Posted on Nov 29, 2022

The 9/11 disaster on September 11th, 2001, was a turning point for emergency response. In the wake of these attacks, it became clear that first responders needed a way to communicate with each other regardless of their agency or location. This led to the birth of NG9-1-1. 

In this blog post, our NG9-1-1 providers and experts at NGA will explore how the 9/11 disasters created the need for change in our emergency response systems and a new era of public safety. 

We'll also cover the following:

  • What NG9-1-1 is

  • How the NG9-1-1 system works

  • Why we need NG9-1-1

  • NG9-1-1 benefits for both citizens and emergency responders

Table of Contents:

  1. The 9/11 Disasters Aftermath: Creating the Need for Change

  2. The Birth of NG9-1-1: A New Era of Public Safety 

  3. What is NG9-1-1 and How Does it Work?

  4. Why We Need Next Generation 9-1-1

  5. NG9-1-1: Benefits for Citizens and First Responders 

  6. Conclusion 

People Also Ask:

What does NG9-1-1 stand for?

NG9-1-1 stands for Next Generation 9-1-1 in the public safety industry. NG9-1-1 is the future of 9-1-1 and is an upgrade from the legacy emergency response system. 

The 9/11 Disasters Aftermath: Creating the Need for Change

In the aftermath of 9/11, it became clear that the current emergency response system could no longer meet our country's needs. The system was not designed to handle an incident of that magnitude. 

9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders were overwhelmed by the number of calls coming in, and there was no way to share vital information between agencies in real time. Because so, coordinated emergency response on a large scale was nearly impossible. 

The fallout from the 9/11 attacks sparked a realization in local and federal governments that changes needed to be made to our current 9-1-1 system—and fast. 

The Birth of NG9-1-1: A New Era of Public Safety 

In the years following the 9/11 disasters, congress allocated funds to modernize our nation's 9-1-1 infrastructure. This led to the development of the NG9-1-1 system and the execution of the NG9-1-1 initiative across the country. 

With the NG9-1-1 infrastructure, emergency dispatchers can manage high volumes of 9-1-1 calls more effectively, route calls based on urgency, and deploy first responders and life-saving resources based on accurate 9-1-1 caller locations. 

And thanks to NG9-1-1 system technology, emergency response personnel can now share critical information and coordinate their response in real-time—something unthinkable on September 11th. 

What is NG9-1-1 and How Does it Work?

NG9-1-1 stands for Next Generation 9-1-1, and this telecommunications infrastructure is dubbed "the next generation of 9-1-1" for a good reason. NG9-1-1 is a system that runs on secure IP (Internet Protocol) and cloud-based networks, which allows for streamlined communication between the 9-1-1 caller, dispatcher, and first responders. 

The Next Generation 9-1-1 system enables PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) and other emergency call centers to receive and route multimedia traffic. Examples of this multimedia include:

  • Photo sharing

  • Video streaming

  • Real-time text messaging

  • Voice messaging

  • Voice-to-text messaging

The ability for dispatchers to automatically route emergency calls to the appropriate call center based on the caller's location, thanks to NG9-1-1, is crucial, especially when multiple jurisdictions are involved (e.g., city, county, state). 

Why We Need Next Generation 9-1-1

Our current 9-1-1 system was designed in the 1960s when landline phones were the only way to place a call. Today, however, about 80% of all 9-1-1 calls are placed from mobile devices—and that number will only increase in the years to come. 

What's more, as our world becomes increasingly digitized, we are generating vast amounts of data that could be used to improve emergency response times and save more lives. But our current 9-1-1 system is not equipped to handle this influx of multimedia data—nor is it designed to support new technologies like text messaging and video calling. NG9-1-1 will change all that.

NG9-1-1: Benefits for Citizens and First Responders 

There are many benefits of NG9-1-1, both for citizens and emergency responders. 

For citizens, NG9-1-1 offers the following benefits:

  • Texting 9-1-1 in cases where it is not safe to make a voice call (e.g., domestic violence situations) 

  • Sending photos and videos to 9-1-1 operators to provide them with additional information about an emergency situation 

  • Automatically routing calls to the appropriate call center based on the caller's location 

For emergency responders, NG9-1-1 offers the following benefits:

  • Receiving real-time information about the location of first responders so that they can be dispatched more efficiently 

  • Sharing data between multiple agencies quickly and easily 

  • Prioritizing emergency calls based on their severity 

  • Integrating with existing dispatch systems 


The creation of NG9-1-1 was a direct response to the attacks of September 11th, 2001. By modernizing and upgrading our country's 9-1-1 systems, NG9-1-1 will provide a more flexible and efficient way to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of communications. 

This will help ensure that first responders have the information they need to make quick and informed decisions in the field and that 9-1-1 services are always available - even in the event of a major disaster.

Do you want to learn more about how NG9-1-1 can benefit your emergency response agency and community?

Connect with our experts at NGA today to get started!