Frequently Asked Questions
Why am I asked so many questions?
Once a citizen is connected to 9-1-1, the Telecommunicator follows a standard set of questions. If the caller is requesting an ambulance or the fire department, protocols are used that are based on a system that is used by many centers worldwide. This is a state-of-the art emergency dispatch protocol that meets or exceeds all standards established by the US Department of Transportation and International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. It includes the following:
- What is the address of the emergency?
- What is the phone number you are calling from?
- Okay, tell me exactly what happened.
- What is your name and address?
The protocol also provides instructions to relay to the caller in life threatening situations, such as CPR or how to control bleeding.
Are these questions delaying help being sent?
No, the questions ensure the appropriate response is sent and provides critical information to the responders. Often police and/or fire/EMS department personnel are dispatched after obtaining the location & problem, and the call-taker will continue to ask questions or provide instructions while the responders are en route.
What should I do if I call 9-1-1 by accident?
Please, stay on the line and inform the Telecommunicator that you misdialed. When you hang up, it creates additional work for the Telecommunicator. The Telecommunicator will have to call back to determine if there is a problem and even potentially send out police, fire, or EMS responders. Letting the Telecommunicator know it was a misdial saves time and resources.
Can I text to 9-1-1?
CenCom accepts text to 9-1-1, however many surrounding areas do not. In the event text to 9-1-1 is not available you will receive a bounce back message indicating to make a voice call. You should only text to 9-1-1 if you are unable to make a voice call. If you do not receive a response for a text to 9-1-1 call, make a voice call.
- 9-1-1 should not be used to report utility outages (power, gas, cable, etc.), contact your provider.
- When Outdoor Warning Sirens are activated, seek shelter immediately. There is no “All Clear” siren or signal. In a weather event when a watch/warning expires, you must determine based on observations and information if it is safe to leave your place of shelter. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are reporting a life threatening situation or hazardous conditions. As a reminder, sirens are tested the first Tuesday of the month at 10am.