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The number 3-1-1 is intended in part to divert routine inquiries and non-urgent community concerns from the 9-1-1 number which is reserved for emergency service. Call 3-1-1." 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.A promotional website for 3-1-1 in Akron described the distinction as follows: "Burning building? This system is intended to extend the system such that true emergency callers are answered quickly with highest priority.

3-1-1 is a special telephone number supported in many communities in Canada and the United States.

The number provides access to non-emergency municipal services.

This also supplanted the need to remember or find the number (312) 744-5000, which, until then, acted as a switching station for reaching various city departments and employees, as well as Chicago Police non-emergency (dialing this number today directs you to a 3-1-1 center operator from any area code).

Since its launch, Chicago 3-1-1 has won numerous national awards, including the Innovations in American Government Award from the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. In addition to providing seamless delivery of city services to residents, the call center serves as a backup to the City's 911 call center.

This fictitious phone number was used in the 1979 horror film When a Stranger Calls; in the opening of the television series The Rockford Files; in the 1984 film Ghostbusters; and on two episodes of the second season of the TV series Mission: Impossible: episode 22 titled "The Killing" (on the killer's phone) and, fourth season, episode 12, titled "Time Bomb" (on a phone at a nuclear plant in a fictitious country).

This number is also seen on the phone in Mister Ed during shots where the talking horse dials the phone using a pencil in his mouth.

At the end of a 1963 episode of Route 66, titled "Kiss the Monster, Make Him Sleep", Linc calls his estranged father at a number having area code 311. This area code is also used as the area code for Sunnyvale, California (which is actually 408) in the 1983 movie War Games during the "war dialing" sequence where the main character is searching for a video game company's modem pool.

The number 311-555-9845 was used for a radio station hotline in episode 1, season 1, of the TV show A. 311-555-3305 was used in a 1973 episode of "Search" Season 1, Episode 20 "Moments of Madness" as the phone number for the lair of kidnapper Ralph Byron (played by Patrick O'Neal).

The number format follows the N11 code for a group of short, special-purpose local numbers as designated in the North American Numbering Plan.

3-1-1 creates a central hub for constituents to be able to access a variety of city services.

In Orange County, Florida, in 2004, while the 3-1-1 system was being piloted three hurricanes struck Central Florida.