ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

911 Operators and Dispatchers, What you need to know

Updated on September 16, 2014
The green is the 911 screen information
The green is the 911 screen information | Source
Source

Where?

Where is THE most important aspect of the 911 call. If the operator does not know where you are, then how are you going to get help?

  • Calling from a land line phone. If you are lucky enough to have a good ol' fashioned land line phone, dialing 911 should give an accurate location. The operator has a screen that shows the address when a call comes in from a land line..

This should automatically show up on the computerized map.

  • If you are calling from a cell phone: Calls that come in from a cell phone show the location of the tower and lat & long coordinates. At my agency, this information transfers to the mapping software

Sometimes this can take a while.

  • Voice over internet. These can be a bit tricky since people can change their physical location without changing the location in the computer.

Regardless of your method of communication, expect the operator to ask you to verify your location.


Where again?

"I need help for my brother in West Virginia!"

Well if you live in Alabama that just aint gonna happen the way you think.

911 is not a federal agency. 911 is not a nationwide system.

Although the operator may be able to help you with finding the non emergency number for the agency that handles that area.

So this brings up the issue of jurisdiction.

Local agencies handle 911 calls in a variety of different ways. Although the hot trend right now is to consolidate dispatch centers, its really helpful to know who your agency is.

"Sarah, get me the sheriff!"

Are you in a small municipality? Are you governed by a county? All of these are clues as to who exactly you will reach when you dial 911.

If you're calling from a cell phone, that call may have hit on a tower in one jurisdiction, when help is needed in another, expect a transfer, or even a three-way.

Source

Location, Location, Location

"Where again?"

My favorite all time line from an operator trying to get a caller to tell her the address was,

"If you were ordering a pizza what would you tell them?"

Seems simple, but it's amazing how many people have no idea of the address, the cross streets, the exit they just passed on the highway, the beach access, the mountain pass, the names of the store in the mall. . ..

If you go on and on about the emergency without pin pointing a location, chances are help is not pointing the wheel in your direction yet.

Source

What?

"911 what is your emergency?"

"Just send them, just send them!"

"Well ma'am is your house on fire? Is someone hurt or sick? Is there a robbery?"

Many agencies answer 911 with a subtext, "Do you need police, fire or ambulance?"

And if you need police, you're not going to get a fire truck no matter how much you want to see the firemen in their turn out gear,

. . . .. Aaaaaaah darn.


When to dial 911

"My trash can's were stolen last night!"

OK ma'am, dialing 911 is for life and death emergencies."

You'd be hard pressed to find an operator that hasn't used this line.

Easy right? Wrong. What is life or death to one person is nothing to another.

One of my relatives once dialed 911 because of a power outage.

"Oh I acted like I was panicked."

Aaaaarrrrgh!

Source

Who?

"That Anon guy, he sure calls a lot"

Imagine hysterical laughter from the dispatch center going over the radio as the newbie tries to understand who Anon is. We dispatchers use a lot of acronyms and we like to abbreviate..

Sometimes you can remain anonymous.

Agencies have different policies on this. If you don't want Trixie, the neighbor you always borrow an egg from, to know you're sick and tired of the loud music, you can probably stay anonymous.

However, if you've called 911 because you jumped out of the truck your BFF has just stolen, we probably want to know who you are.


Source

Butt, butt, butt

"But I didn't dial 911!"

No. . . . but your phone did.

I can't even begin to tell you how many butt dials we get.

Different agencies handle this differently. If the line is open the operator may try to get your attention, and/or call you back.

"Why is my purse talking to me?"

You may be asked to verify your information, and upon assuring the operator everything is OK, you can continue to the food court.

OR.

You may be asked to stay right there and wait for an officer. Someone could be holding a gun to your head telling you to say,

"No Please don't send the police! It was an accident!"

Source

Stay on the line

This is 2014, so a LOT of agencies, have mobile data computers in their vehicles.

These are lap top like thingies that the police officers, the fire department personnel and/or the paramedics can refer to while they are on the way to a call.

So if you tell your operator,

"Just get them here!" and then disconnect, you're missing out on both giving and getting information.

"He's still unconscious, are they on their way?"

"Yes sir, they've been on the way since you first called."

"OMG! I think he just stopped breathing!"

or "OMG he just shot him!'

or "There are flames shooting out of the building now!"

Several things happen at this moment:

  1. The operator immediately notates this in the call.
  2. The dispatcher airs the update to the police, fire and/or ambulance
  3. The police, fire and/or ambulance also sees what the operator put into the call on their MDC
  4. The police, fire and or ambulance may just step it up.

How does this work again?

Smaller agencies may have only 1 dispatcher, who answers calls and dispatches at the same time. Many agencies have varying amounts of call takers and dispatchers.

Some dispatch all three types of responders, some only one. Not every responder may have a mobile data computer. Some agencies silently dispatch just through the computer and don't air the call.

So the following examples are just that - only examples

Dispatching Police, Fire and Ambulance

Source

Transferring to another agency, 3 way call

Source

Sending an update

Source

Whew! They've arrived

Source
Source

No lights and sirens! I don't want to disturb the neighbors.

Some people get very concerned as to how this will all "look." Regardless of your request to keep it quiet, there are protocols to follow.

Also . . .

Many people don't understand why an agency sends the fire department on a medical call.

It's pretty much standard procedure to have EMT's and paramedics working for the fire department.

There are many times that the fire department can get to you faster than the ambulance. How awesome is this if you're in a car accident. Fire personnel can use the jaws of life AND start CPR.

And More. . . .

Texting 911, Working large scale events, the funniest calls, the worst calls. There is always just a whole lot more to tell about 911.

The statistics show that most people only call 911 once in their lifetime.

If you have any questions, or If you've ever called 911, I'd love to hear your story.

Call 911!

Have you ever called 911?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hankscita profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy 

      4 years ago from Florida

      You are so welcome. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and thank you for reading my Hub.

    • Laura335 profile image

      Laura Smith 

      4 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      I recently wrote a scene in my new book where a kid dials 9-1-1. These articles will help me to make it more accurate. Thanks!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)