The Location

The 911 call taker will answer the phone with “NRV 911, Where is your emergency?” We must verify the accurate location since individuals may call 911 from locations other than where the incident is occurring.

If you call 911 from a cell phone, the location information is not presented with a fixed location or physical address. Location information from a wireless phone is different than calling from a traditional “landline” phone. The information will appear as an approximate location and display a latitude and longitude based on network capabilities. Emergency calls from wireless phones are routed to the nearest 911 Center based on the cellular tower receiving your signal and not your actual location. Therefore, you may not automatically route to the appropriate 911 center and a transfer will be required.

ALWAYS provide your location along with additional details that are necessary for dispatching the appropriate emergency responders. This includes your name and phone number in the event a call back is required. If you do not know the physical address for your location, provide information such as the street name, mile marker, along with any recognizable landmarks around you.

The Problem

The 911 call taker will ask you to provide a quick description of what occurred. They will continue to ask a series of questions which are extremely important to the safety of everyone and the proper dispatch of emergency responders. These may include:

  • How long ago did the incident occur?
  • Does anyone need medical attention? If so, are they conscious and breathing?
  • Were there any weapons involved and if so, what type and description?
  • Did the suspect flee? If so, which direction and can you provide a physical description?
  • What was the mode of transportation; a car, bike or on foot?
  • If a vehicle was involved, what was the description and what was the direction of travel?

Although these may seem like an unreasonable number of questions during an emergency, they are very important to emergency personnel. For example, if a burglary has just occurred and the suspect flees, the officers have a much better chance of apprehending the suspect if they have a good description of the suspect and the direction that was taken. More important, if the incident in question involved a weapon, it is critical to obtain this information for the safety of our officers and emergency responders.

It is very important that you stay on the line during a 911 call unless your life is threatened by doing so. The 911 call taker will continue to ask crucial questions while the emergency responders have been dispatched.

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