9-1-1

General questions about using 9-1-1, when to call, teaching children, what to expect if you call, etc.

I was trying to make a long distance call from my office and got 9-1-1 by mistake. Why does that happen?

In some offices/businesses the telephone equipment may require you to dial "9" to get an outside line to dial out. This type of system is called a Private Branch Exchange (PBX). A PBX is basically a private telephone system that is connected to the public telephone system. 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 9-1-1 is actually dialed.

What should I do if I dial 9-1-1 by mistake?

Do not hang up! Remain on the line (even if you are unsure at first if the call went through) and tell the Telecommunicator that the call was a mistake. If you hang up prior to your misdialed 9-1-1 call being answered, the call taker must then send law enforcement and attempt to call you back. This takes up precious time that the call taker could use to answer another call that may be an actual emergency. A common misconception is that you will get "in trouble" for accidentally dialing 9-1-1. This is simply not true! Accidents happen. We understand!

How can I help the Public Safety Telecommunicator?

  • Answer all questions asked by the Telecommunicator.
  • Listen to all instructions provided to you by the Telecommunicator.
  • Speak clearly (so we can understand what you are telling us).
  • Remain calm (difficult to do at times, we understand. But by remaining calm, you will help the Telecommunicator gather valuable information needed by first responders).

Why do Public Safety Telecommunicators ask so many questions?

The Telecommunicators answers a 9-1-1 call with the question "9-1-1, where is your emergency?" The address or specific location is the most critical piece of information we can gather. If we do not have a location of the problem, how can we send help?

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