History of 911 in Roanoke

The 911 concept is simple: let callers dial a universal number to reach local emergency personnel. Prior to 1987, Roanoke Valley residents had to call separate 7-digit phone numbers for police, fire and rescue. What's more, the numbers were different in Roanoke, Roanoke County, Salem and Vinton.

The 4 local governments began to meet in 1977 to plan a 911 system for the Roanoke Valley. In 1984, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to allow localities to assess a tax on telephone service to fund the operating expenses of a 911 system. On October 5, 1987, all 4 valley municipalities turned on Enhanced 911.

Although each locality still answers its own emergency calls, residents in any part of the Roanoke Valley can dial one number for immediate police, fire or rescue response.