Using 911

What happens when you call 911?

The first person who answers the phone is typically at the Police Department. You will be asked whether you need Police, Fire, or Medic. Your call will then be transferred to the appropriate agency. Our dispatchers will then begin to ask questions--including determining the location and nature of the emergency.

Why Do I Have to Answer So Many Questions?

While you are being asked questions, another dispatcher has already begun dispatching an ambulance. These additional questions can not only help determine if additional resources are needed, but can also enable the dispatchers to provide you with pre-arrival instructions--including stopping bleeding, delivering a baby, or even performing CPR.

What is Enhanced 9-1-1?

Enhanced 9-1-1, or E9-1-1, is a system which routes an emergency call to the 9-1-1 center closest to the caller, AND automatically displays the caller’s phone number and address. The 9-1-1 call taker will typically ask the caller to verify the information, which appears on his or her computer screen.

When should you use 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency you should call 9-1-1. It’s better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.

DO NOT call 9-1-1:

  • for information
  • to ask the time of day
  • for weather updates
  • for directory assistance
  • when you’re bored and just want to talk
  • for paying tickets
  • for your pet
  • as a prank

If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the call taker what happened so they know there really isn’t an emergency.

What if a 9-1-1 caller doesn’t speak English?

Medic utilizes a language line service that allows the Agency’s Emergency Medical Dispatachers to introduce an interpreter on any call. This service, which the Agency utilizes frequently, allows Medic to communicate with callers in a variety of languages including Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French, German, and many others.

What if a 9-1-1 caller is Deaf, or hearing/speech impaired?

Communications centers that answer 9-1-1 calls have special text telephones for responding to 9-1-1 calls from Deaf or hearing/speech impaired callers.

  • If a caller uses a TTY/TDD, the caller should:
  • Stay calm, place the phone receiver in the TTY, dial 9-1-1.
  • After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times. This may help shorten the time necessary to respond to the call.
  • Give the call taker time to connect their TTY. If necessary, press the TTY keys again. The 9-1-1 call taker should answer and type "GA" for Go Ahead.
  • Tell what is needed-police, fire department, or ambulance. Give your name, phone number and the address where help is needed.
  • Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the call taker’s questions.