Begin Main Content Area

9-1-1 Office Mission Statement
PEMA's 9-1-1office, working with our county partners, established and now maintains an E-911 telecommunication system as the primary emergency access portal for public safety services to citizens of, and visitors to the Commonwealth.
9-1-1 Office Overview

In 1990, the General Assembly declared it in the public interest to provide the toll free number 911 for an individual within the commonwealth to gain rapid, direct access to emergency aid.  Under the original Act, the Department of Community Affairs administered the program while PEMA provided technical oversight.
Act 17 of 1998 amended Act 78 of 1990 by providing definitions for the powers and duties of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).  In addition, this amendment provided definition for County Plans, training, and telephone records.
On August 11, 2000, regulations defined under Act 17 were implemented. 4 Pa Code Chapter 120(b), (c), and (d) established technical standards, personnel certification and training standards, and quality assurance standards for all 9-1-1 systems and employees that operate and work respectively in jurisdictions under Act 78 as amended.
In December of 2003, Act 56 was signed into law, which further amended Act 78 to allow for the collection of $1/per device/per month from all residents who own cellular devices capable of placing a 9-1-1 call. This surcharge is collected by the wireless service providers and remitted to the State Treasury for administration by PEMA.  Counties/Cities operating a recognized 9-1-1 system must apply for those funds to develop and maintain an integrated wireless E-911 system.  PEMA serves as the oversight for technical, planning, financial, and training services.  PEMA also provides support in those areas for Counties/Cities to improve this service to residents and visitors.
In September 2007, PEMA’s post-Witt report reorganization provided for the creation of the Bureau of 9-1-1, which was reclassified in 2012 as the 9-1-1 Office.  The 9-1-1 Office provides oversight for the Commonwealth’s County/City based 9-1-1 systems.  The Office is also responsible for the oversight, development, implementation, operation, and maintenance of a statewide integrated wireless E-911 system.  Responsibilities include the formulation of technical standards and permitted uses of funds disbursed from the Wireless E-911 Emergency Services Fund to public safety answering points and wireless providers eligible for payment under the fund.
In July 2008, Act 72 of 2008 was signed into law.  It took effect November 6, 2008.  Act 72 of 2008 amended Act 78 of 1990 for the purpose of provisioning the collection of a $1.00 fee on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) users in Pennsylvania.  The fee is collected by the VoIP provider and remitted either to the county where service is provided or to the state treasurer on a monthly or quarterly basis. Act 72 allows VoIP providers to deduct a two percent administrative fee prior to distribution to the counties or a one percent administrative fee prior to remittance to the state treasurer.  Funds remitted to the state treasurer have an additional one percent administrative fee deducted prior to distribution to the counties.
On November 23, 2010, Act 2010-118 (H.B. 2321) was signed into law with an effective date of July 1, 2011.  Chapter 53, Emergency Telephone Service, of Title 35 of the Pennsylvania Statutes amended the existing Act for the purpose of provisioning the collection of a wireless E-911 surcharge of $1.00 per retail transaction of each prepaid device occurring in the Commonwealth.  A seller may deduct and retain up to three percent of prepaid wireless E-911 surcharges that are collected by the seller from consumers for administrative purposes.   PEMA sends all funds remitted to the state treasurer for deposit after retaining two percent of the remitted surcharges to pay for departmental expenses directly related to the costs of administering the collection and remittance of the prepaid wireless E-911 surcharges.