The non-emergency telephone number 3-1-1 is a special N11 code (N-1-1) telephone number in many communities in Canada and the United States that provides quick, easy-to-remember access to non-emergency municipal services or a Citizen Service Center. Dialing this number allows city residents (only in certain cities) to obtain important non-emergency services through a central, all-purpose phone number quickly and effectively.

3-1-1 is intended in part to divert routine inquiries and non-urgent community concerns from the emergency 9-1-1 number. A promotional website for 3-1-1 in Los Angeles described the distinction as follows: "Burning building? Call 9-1-1. Burning Question? Call 3-1-1."

  • 3-1-1 for Non-emergencies
  • 9-1-1 for Emergencies

History Edit

Its first use for this purpose was in Baltimore, Maryland, where the service commenced on October 2, 1996. 3-1-1 is intended to connect callers to a call center that can be the same as the 9-1-1 call center, but with 3-1-1 calls assigned a secondary priority, answered only when no 9-1-1 calls are waiting. This system is intended to extend the system such that true emergency callers are answered quickly, without ringing or busy signals.

The largest 3-1-1 operation in service operates in New York City implemented by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2003.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission formally reserved the use of 3-1-1 for non-emergency municipal services throughout Canada on 5 November 2004. The first Canadian 3-1-1 service opened in Calgary, Alberta on 18 May 2005.

The 311 code was previously used by some telephone companies for testing purposes. In Alberta, 311 was the Automatic number announcement circuit number until April 1 2005 when this was changed to 958-6111 to make way for the present 3-1-1 service.

In former times, "311" was sometimes used as a fictitious area code in Bell System advertisements depicting telephones; often the phone in the advertisement would bear the specific number "Area Code 311 555-2368."

Operation Edit

3-1-1 service is generally implemented at the local level, and in some cities it is also used for various municipal calls.

Examples of calls intended for 3-1-1:

  • illegal burning
  • suspicious persons
  • debris in roadway
  • minor injuries
  • non-working streetlamps
  • noise complaints
  • local government enquiries

Availability Edit

United States Edit

3-1-1 is available in several major American cities, including: Akron, Ohio; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Chicago, Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas ; Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Laredo, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Los Angeles, Miami, Florida; Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Mobile, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; New York City, Rochester, New York; Orlando, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco, California; San Jose, California; Somerville, Massachusetts; and Washington, D.C..


In Baltimore, Maryland|, 3-1-1 has been successful in dramatically reducing June 20, 2007, when it received its 50 millionth call.[1]

In San Francisco, California, 3-1-1 is the number for the City and County of San Francisco. It, like New York City, provides information for city services, such as transit information. San Francisco 3-1-1 was implemented in 2007 shortly after the launch of the T Third Street San Francisco Municipal Railway light rail line.

References Edit

External linksEdit

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