Dialing 9-1-1 allows any County resident in need of emergency assistance immediate access to the appropriate police, fire or ambulance agency.
What to Expect When Calling 9-1-1
- Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself.
- Dial the numbers 9-1-1.
- Sometimes it takes a while for the phone to route to the correct answering point; be patient.
- Remain calm.
- Listen to the dispatcher. Please let the dispatcher ask the questions, they are trained to know what questions to ask and will save valuable time in getting you the assistance you are requesting.
- When the dispatcher asks you, be prepared to tell the dispatcher what type of emergency that you are calling about [Police, Medical, Fire.]
- Know the address of the emergency and the nearest intersection (cross street), or be able to provide directions for the dispatcher to relay to the emergency responders.
- Know the phone number that you are calling from. This enables the dispatcher to call you back for further information or directions, and allows the dispatcher to call you back in the event that you get disconnected.
- Be able to describe the problem (that is, the reason for your 911 call) to the dispatcher when you are asked for it.
- Follow the dispatcher's instructions while waiting for help to arrive.
- Trust that help is on the way, even if the dispatcher is still asking questions or giving instructions. Don't panic just because it seems like the conversation takes a long time.
- Stay on the line. Do not hang up until the dispatcher instructs you to do so.
- REMEMBER: while the Communications Officer is still talking to you on the phone, they are also sending help.
- Do not assume that the 9-1-1 Center will know where you are calling from. Not all emergency dispatch centers are equipped to automatically detect your location based on your phone number: know the location of your emergency!
- Do not call 9-1-1 with false emergencies! This puts a strain on resources and can be punishable by jail time which most people don't like. In other words, you CAN'T practice making emergency calls, so make the call of 9-1-1 when real emergency occurs.
- In some areas, harassing a dispatcher on a 9-1-1 line with profanity is punishable by jail time. While it's understandable that a stressful situation can bring about that kind of language, do not harshly direct it towards those people whose job it is to help in emergencies.