What information do I need to provide when I call 911?
The Telecommunicator will ask you a series of basic questions:
Exact Nature of the Emergency
Once these questions have been answered, more detailed questions will be asked to ensure everything about the situation is obtained including:
Descriptions of persons and vehicles
If weapons are involved
Is any danger present?
Any other pertinent information that could be helpful to the emergency personnel responding
It's the goal of the Richmond County 9-1-1 Center to ensure an accurate and quick response to the emergency you are reporting, and answering these questions will assist in the proper response.
Why does 911 ask so many questions?
The Telecommunicator may only have one opportunity to gather information about the emergency. Therefore it is important to get as much information as possible if the situation allows. Address verification and a call back number are crucial.
Also, based on your answers to questions, a more appropriate dispatch of emergency personnel may be provided. For example, a victim injured in a traffic accident that is trapped in a vehicle may elicit a different response from emergency responders than someone who has broken their arm.
Is help being sent while I am answering all the questions being asked by the Telecommunicator?
Yes, the Richmond County 9-1-1 Center uses a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD). When basic information is obtained, the location, name, phone number and problem can be entered into the system. Once the pertinent information about the situation has been gathered, the second telecommunicator on duty will be dispatching a fire or medical response.
In many cases, you may be asked to stay on the line until help arrives on the scene. This will enable the Telecommunicator to pass along updates to emergency responders, give you critical instructions that could potentially help the situation, and to make sure that everyone remains safe.
How does the 911 Center know my location when I call from a cell phone?
Richmond County 911 is a Phase 2 enabled county. This means that when you dial 911 from a cell phone, the telecommunicator can see your approximate location by receiving the location of the cell tower your call is coming from. The Telecommunicator also attempts to get your exact coordinates through GPS. This process could take 20 seconds or more and the exact coordinates they receive could be about the size of a football stadium. GPS coordinates do not provide elevation, which can be critical when calling from a multi-story building.
When you call 911 from your cell phone, always assume the telecommunicator does not know where you are at and be prepared to give all address and location information for the emergency, including landmarks.
I have the GPS option on my cell phone. Does that help if I need to call 911?
Some wireless carriers have a GPS chip in the handset that provides location data, but older cell phones may not have this feature. Check with your wireless provider to find out if your phone is equipped with GPS on how to activate it on your cell phone.
What should I do if I accidentally call 911?
If you accidentally dial 911, DO NOT HANG UP!
The best thing you can do is to stay on the line until a telecommunicator answers so you can tell them that you dialed by mistake.
If you do hang up before speaking with a telecommunicator, an attempt will be made to call your number back to make sure everything is okay and that there is no emergency. If no contact is made on the callback attempt, an officer will be dispatched to the location of the 911 call to ascertain if there is an emergency.
What should I teach my child about calling 911?
Teaching children the proper use of 911 is very important. Some of the things you can do as a parent is to cover some these basic pointers:
Teach your children their full name, parents' full names, home address and phone number with area code
Teach your children what an emergency is and when to call 911
Teach your children that it is against the law to call 911 as a joke or prank
Teach your children to remain calm and answer all questions they're asked
Teach your children not to be afraid to call 911 if they need to
Is the Richmond County 911 Center able to assist callers who do not speak English?
Yes, if someone calls 911 and does not speak English, they will be transferred to Language Line Services where an interpreter will be able to translate all questions and answers. Using this service ensures there is no delay in dispatching emergency personnel to the location of the emergency and assures that the most accurate information is obtained from the caller.
Does the Richmond County 9-1-1 Center have the ability to assist hearing and speech impaired callers?
Yes, hearing and speech impaired callers are able to call 911 just like any other citizen.
As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Richmond County 9-1-1 Center is equipped with TTY (Text Telephone/Telephone Device for the Deaf) equipment at every call taking position to assist hearing and speech impaired callers. The TTY/TDD technology is built into the phone system to enable seamless communication with callers who have the need to use a TTY/TDD to communicate. All of our telecommunicators are thoroughly trained in the use of a TTY/TDD, as well as continuously trained throughout the year to maintain proficiency in the use of the equipment.
I was trying to make a long distance call from my office and got 911 by mistake. Why does this happen?
Some offices or businesses may require you to dial 9 to get an outside line to dial out. If you happen to dial 9 to get an outside line and 1 for a long distance number, the 1 could accidentally get pressed twice or be held down too long, therefore 911 is actually dialed.
Some business phone systems also require that you dial a 9 before you dial 911 for emergency assistance. You should check with someone responsible for maintaining your telephone system to see if dialing a 9 before 911 is a requirement for your office. If it is, make sure that these instructions are posted in plain view at each phone for employees to see in case they need to call 911.