When Should I Call 9-1-1?
In the event of any emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately!
An emergency may be considered as any situation that requires immediate assistance from law enforcement, fire department, or any ambulance services. A few examples include:
- Reporting A Crime
- Reporting A Fire
- Reporting a Traffic Accident
- Any Life Threatening Incident
- Request for Medical Attention
- Hazardous Chemical Spill
- Smoke Detector or Carbon Monoxide Detector Activation
- Suspicious Condition, Vehicle or Person
- Any Other Type of Danger or Emergency
An important note, If you are ever in doubt if the situation is a true emergency, call 9-1-1 and let the Telecommunicator determine the assistance that you need.
When You Call, Be 9-1-1 Ready!
When you call the 9-1-1 Communications Center, the Telecommunicator will begin his/her assessment by gathering the appropriate information required to determine the nature of any incident. They will be following the “5 W’s” method, to gather the required information in a quick and efficient manner:
1. Where? – The location should be the first thing you disclose to the Telecommunicator. If for any reason contact with communications is lost, the location is known.
Tips: Make sure to include apartment number, lot number, or any other information such as the name of the apartment or business when giving your location. If you do not know where you are, look for a mailbox, street sign, or any type of landmark that can give the Telecommunicator an indication of where you may be.
2. What? – The Telecommunicator needs to know the nature of the incident, so the appropriate agency can respond. The Telecommunicator may ask for your name and telephone number, description of the person or vehicle involved, if any.
Tips: Be specific to the Telecommunicator of what exactly is going on. Let them know if you need police, fire, or an ambulance. Description of vehicle; color, year, make, model, body style, any other descriptors, and the license tag (CYMBAL). Description of person; race, sex, hair/eye color, height, clothing description.
3. When? – The Telecommunicator needs to know if the incident is occurring at the present time or if it has already taken place. This is very important to the agencies responding.
Tips: Give the Telecommunicator an approximate time frame of when the incident occurred.
4. Who? – Law enforcement needs to know who they need to speak with when arriving on scene and names of people involved in the incident.
Tips: Callers may remain anonymous if requested. If you know the parties involved, please give their first and last name if known.
5. Weapons? – If weapons are involved, the Telecommunicator needs to know immediately. This information is vitally important for the safety of the officer and/or emergency personnel responding to the scene.
Tips: Let the Telecommunicator know what type of weapon is being used. If there is not a weapon involved, still make the Telecommunicator aware.
Can I Send A Text Message to 9-1-1?
Yes! Text-to-911 is now available in Polk County. In the event of any emergency and you are unable to speak on the phone, text your address and nature of emergency to 9-1-1 and you will be connected to the Polk E-911 center, or the nearest PSAP depending on your location. Remember - Text if you must, call if you can!!!
What If I Accidentally Dial 9-1-1 By Mistake?
If you were to dial 9-1-1 by mistake, please DO NOT HANG UP. Please stay on the line and explain to the Telecommunicator if an actual emergency exists. If you do hang up without stating the need for help, the 9-1-1 Telecommunicator will attempt contact with you to establish the actuality of an emergency, and possibly dispatch an officer to the residence or location of the 9-1-1 call to ascertain if an actual emergency exists.