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King County Executive News

King County Executive News
Sept. 2, 2010

King County celebrates 25 years of 9-1-1 service

Children who correctly dialed 9-1-1 recognized at ceremony and met operator who took their call

King County celebrated 25 years of 9-1-1 service at a ceremony on Thursday to recognize youth heroes and educate residents about appropriate use of the emergency number. Four children who used quick, calm thinking and appropriately dialed 9-1-1 were on hand to receive special recognition. King County Executive Dow Constantine and Sheriff's Office Technical Services Chief Robin Fenton awarded the children with medals for doing the right thing in an emergency, and thanked the 9-1-1 operators who took their calls.

"These young heroes who dialed 9-1-1 during an emergency deserve our thanks for their quick thinking, and praise for remaining calm and providing information during a stressful situation," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "King County is pleased to have provided this life saving service for 25 years, and over the next 25 years, we will continue to keep up with technology so that we can best serve our residents."

Mikayla Fuller, a 10 year old girl, dialed 9-1-1 when her mother suffered a seizure. As the oldest of three children in the house that day, she carefully provided her address and information to the operator so that paramedics could be dispatched.

Ivyanne Smith, a 13 year old girl, trusted her instincts and called 9-1-1 when a strange man followed her and the two children she was babysitting as they walked to the corner store. She provided accurate information about the man to the 9-1-1 operator, including where the man fled to when police arrived on the scene.

Curtis Havili, a 16 year old boy, took his 13 year old sister, Lupe Havili, to hide in their garage and dialed 9-1-1 when burglars broke into their house while they were home alone. Curtis provided information to the 9-1-1 operator, while Lupe provided Curtis with identifying information about the vehicle and suspects. Police arrived on the scene and were able to make several arrests.

Kristen Snow and Adrienne Byers from Valley Communications Center, and Mary Sue Balazic from the Redmond Police Communications Center were the 9-1-1 operators who took calls from the children. They received certificates of recognition from Executive Constantine.

"There's so much good that can come from using these three simple numbers," said Sheriff's Office Technical Services Chief Robin Fenton. "Knowing the appropriate use of 9-1-1 is critical not only for saving lives, but also keeping call lines open for real emergencies."

The Manager of the county's Enhanced 9-1-1 Program Office, Marlys Davis, explained proper phone etiquette when dialing 9-1-1:

  • Only call 9-1-1 for emergency situations. This keeps phone lines open for real emergencies that are a matter of life and safety. A list of helpful phone numbers and websites for organizations that provide non-emergency services can be found at
  • Know your location when calling 9-1-1, especially when using a wireless phone. This will allow emergency responders to find you as quickly as possible.
  • Set controls on your wireless phones to avoid the accidental dialing of 9-1-1. Six percent of wireless 9-1-1 calls are accidentally dialed by someone bumping or sitting on their phone.
  • Do not send a text message to 9-1-1. Technology that allows texting from mobile devices for an emergency response is not yet available.

On September 4, 1985, King County was the first in Washington State to implement a countywide Enhanced 9-1-1 system. Prior to implementing a 9-1-1 emergency call system, emergencies had to be reported to local police or fire departments.

With 28 different police departments and 42 fire districts in King County at the time, it was difficult for the average citizen to be sure of which jurisdiction they were in and which number to call in an emergency situation.

Since the implementation of our 9-1-1 system, over 48 million calls have been answered by King County's 9-1-1 centers.

Audio clips of the 9-1-1 calls made by the children honored are available online at

Detailed information on the Enhanced 9-1-1 Program and what King County is doing to educate our citizens and keep them safe can be viewed at

This release is posted online at

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