Tips for calling 911 Information

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If you need Police, Fire, or Ambulance assistance,
you need to immediately DIAL 911 if it is an emergency.

What happens when you call 911?

  1. Our 911 call taker enters the information you give into a computer.
  2. Our computer-aided dispatch system assigns a priority to the call based on the type of call (burglary, shooting, etc.). Additional information you give can affect the priority.
  3. A Dispatcher radios the information to units responding to the call.
  4. Additional information from you is sent to officers either by radio or computer. Details are vital, so remain calm and speak clearly.

Tips For Calling 911

  • Stay calm. Speak clearly. Emergency units (police, fire or ambulance) rely on the information you give to get to you as soon as possible and to be able to help you.
  • Give your address and phone number. Many 911 systems automatically display your address when you dial 911, but most cellular phones do not. We also will not receive address information for callers who call our 10 digit number. Your address is vital information and address verification is crucial. We cannot help you if we don’t know where you are.
  • Quickly and briefly describe your problem. As soon as we know what you need, we will know who (police, ambulance, or fire) to send to help you. Get to the point as soon as possible.
  • Describe yourself. Tell the Call Taker where you are and what you look like, including what you are wearing. We want officers who are arriving on the scene to know who they can contact and that you are not the suspect.
  • Listen to the 911 Call Taker. Answer their questions and follow any instructions. Remain on the line until the 911 Call Taker says it is okay for you to hang up.

Remember: Answering questions does NOT delay the dispatch of assistance. A dispatcher is sending help your way while the Call Taker takes additional information from you. The more pertinent information you give us, the safer everyone will be.

About 911 hang-ups: Our policy is to respond to all 911 hang up calls. If you accidentally call 911 or change your mind about needing assistance, stay on the line and explain that to the 911 Call Taker. Otherwise, an officer will be dispatched to your location to ensure that you are safe. Playing on the phone puts those who do need immediate help in danger and puts you in danger of being prosecuted for making a false report.

911 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone services

911More information regarding VOIP & 911 is available from the FCC.

  • Verify that you can access 9-1-1 with your phone. Check your service provider’s Web site for emergency calling features. Links for some providers are found on this Web site.
  • Be sure to keep your registered location current with your VoIP provider.
  • If the power is out, your VoIP service may be out too. Consider purchasing a back up power supply.
  • If you travel with your VoIP adapter, be sure to update your registered location with your service provider. The time it takes to process the update can vary considerably. Therefore, when traveling, if you need 9-1-1 service, use another phone.
  • Inform children, babysitters, and visitors about your VoIP service.
  • Post your address and call back phone number near your phone.
  • It is a good idea to know what police, fire or sheriff's department is responsible for your 9-1-1 call and have their phone number on hand to provide to the call taker.
  • Consider keeping a land line phone for accessing 9-1-1 emergency services.
  • Burglar alarms, fax machines, satellite TV, and DVRs often rely on analog modems. Check with your VoIP provider to determine if their service supports analog modems.

Not all VoIP service providers are created equal when it comes to emergency calling.
FCC Mandate 05-116 states that all VoIP service providers must enable 9-1-1 calling and provide callback and location information.
Some VoIP providers have yet to meet these FCC requirements.

Currently there are 2 ways your VoIP call can be processed:

  • VoIP Basic Emergency Calling: the call is not routed to your local 9-1-1 center on emergency lines. Instead, it is sent to a remote private call center or a non-emergency line without location information and possibly without your callback number. This type of call processing can delay an emergency response.
  • VoIP Enhanced 9-1-1 Calling: is routed over a dedicated 9-1-1 network and arrives at your local  9-1-1 dispatching center with both customer registered location and callback number.