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Cell Phone Callers:

Please, don't assume the 911 center that answers your cell call will be the agency closest to you.

Triangulation (pinpointing the origin point of a cell call by signal strength to local cell towers) is relatively new and hasn't been implemented in most areas.  Only a select few locales have this technology, therefore most emergency calls  from cell phones are routed to a central communications center.  There, the nature and location of the incident is ascertained and the 911 caller is either transferred to the appropriate agency or the gathered data is disseminated to the agency needing to respond.  When you dial an emergency number from a cell phone, provide the location (address) and the city, or closest city.  They will then attempt to locate the Communications center best suited to assist you.

All Callers:

Attempt to know the address and phone number of the location you are calling from.

Though the technology exists which presents address and phone number data immediately to the 911 operator, it is not available in all locations.  Even if the communications center which answers your 911 call has the proper equipment, computer or human error sometimes may cause the wrong information to be displayed.  The 911 operator is trained to confirm and verify the phone number and address for EVERY call received.  It is vitally important that you accommodate their questions, if a dispatcher has to assume the information is correct, when in fact it's erroneous, delays could result when emergency vehicles respond to the wrong location.

No matter what the situation, try to remain calm.  Be sure to speak slowly and clearly. 

Time is of the essence.  Every 911 operator knows that.  It hampers response when a 911 operator has to ask the caller for information several times over because he/she couldn't comprehend what was being said.  Try to be as calm as possible and speak slowly and clearly.  This ensures the 911 operator has the correct information the first time he/she asks for it.

Answer all questions asked by the 911 operator, even ones that seem repetitious.

If you get asked questions that seem redundant, you should answer them again. The operator is only attempting to clarify information that could be confusing.  A lot of things go on in the background during an emergency call, and all of the questions being asked or information being obtained has a purpose.  It is very important that you answer all questions to the best of your ability.  Try to be patient, no one is stalling or delaying emergency response.

Remain on the line until the dispatcher tells you that it is okay to hang up, unless it is unsafe for you to do so.

Many 911 centers are staffed by people who are trained to give instructions for all types of calls and advice that can save lives.  Listen to what the operator has to say.  He/she might be able to offer medical instructions or it may be that an officer responding to your call needs to be constantly updated as to what's happening.  It's very important that you don't hang up until told to do so, or if at any time it is unsafe for you to stay on the line with the dispatcher.

When calling 911 it is important that you remain on the line, even if you dial in error.  If you dial in error and the call goes through and you didn't stay on the line, the dispatcher is required to send police to the computer provided location that the call came from to confirm that no emergency exists.