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Fuel for Thought

The 4-1-1

By Greg Huggins
Posted Jan 29th 2021 7:27AM

You might know about 4-1-1 and 9-1-1, but read on if you want to know the other 1-1 numbers. These numbers are part of the N11 code. There are eight different N11 numbers, each with its own purpose.

Did you know there is a 2-1-1? It is used to provide information and referrals to health, human, and social service organizations. 


3-1-1 is for NON-emergency services. Want to report a pothole? 3-1-1. Street light or traffic light out? 3-1-1. Abandoned or stolen vehicle? 3-1-1. Graffiti removal? 3-1-1. When it is a NON-emergency, but needs to be reported, 3-1-1 is your number.


4-1-1 is for telephone information (landline). Need telephone directory assistance from a landline, try 4-1-1.


5-1-1 is for transportation. Drivers are probably used to seeing the 511 signs along the roadway. You can call the number to get traffic and road conditions. The number is also associated with each state’s website to see the info in a web browser. There are also 511 apps for each state.


6-1-1 is for telephone companies customer care and repair. This number is for reaching the network carrier of the phone you call from.


7-1-1 the phone number, not the convenience store, is used for the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). This number is for an operator service that allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, or have a speech disorder to place calls to standard telephone users via a keyboard or assistive device. Originally, relay services were designed to be connected through a TDD, teletypewriter (TTY) or other assistive telephone device. Services gradually have expanded to include almost any real-time text capable technology such as a personal computer, laptop, mobile phone, PDA, and many other devices.


In the U.S., 8-1-1 is for reaching utility services. You may have seen the signs or ads for “Call 8-1-1 before you dig”. There are a lot of underground utilities and simply calling 8-1-1 before you dig can help keep you from cutting a water line, gas line or power line (yes, there are buried power lines).


Lastly, you should know about 9-1-1. This is just for emergency numbers. When you have a medical emergency, a fire or need the police, this is the number you need. It is a crime to falsely use 9-1-1 in most jurisdictions.


Now you have all the 4-1-1 on the N11 codes. Use the right number for your needs.


One final note about special 3 digit phone numbers in the U.S.

9-8-8 is currently in the process of being adopted as the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. The change will fully go into effect on July 16, 2022.


See you down the road,

Greg