Guide to 911

Most of us take for granted that someone else will be there on the other end of the phone, ready to help at a moment’s notice. The Tipton County Emergency Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. As simple as it may seem, the system of 911 is very sophisticated. Let’s take a look at what happens when you call 911.

  1. The signal goes to the phone company’s database.
  2. There, it finds out the information that you supply the phone company when you start your service.
  3. Then your signal, along with the information, is sent to us in the form of Automatic Name and Location Information (ANI/ALI).

This process occurs very quickly, in a matter of seconds, but you may hear some clicking on the phone while this is taking place.

When you dial 911, please stay on the line. Do not hang up!

The telecommunicator answering your 911 call determines the type of service needed, using a proven and efficient interview process. Telecommunicators provide initial help if necessary and then dispatch the appropriate emergency agency for assistance.

The telecommunicator is the first link in the medical survival chain, providing pre-arrival and post-dispatch instructions to callers with a medical emergency. Critical procedures such as CPR, airway management, and childbirth, just to name a few, can be started before more advanced help arrives.

When you call 911 from your wired home phone, a computerized database maintained by your phone company will provide your name, telephone number, and your address. However, that information may not be correct if you have recently moved or changed phone numbers. Therefore, the telecommunicator will need to verify your address and phone number.

If the phone is from a business, the database will indicate the business name, telephone number of the business, and the address of the business. However, that information may not be correct if the business you are calling from has more than one location. The phone company will show the address and telephone number of the main building. Therefore, the telecommunicator will need to verify your address and phone number.

If you are calling from a cellular phone, the database will provide your cellular phone number and the address of the cell site you contacted. If you have a cellular phone that is reasonably new, the database will also provide coordinates of your location, and we will be able to find you within a few yards if you remain at the same location. However, this sometimes can take up to one minute for the database to give us that information. Therefore, the telecommunicator will need to verify your location and phone number.

To verify your address, location and phone number, the telecommunicator will verify where you need the assistance. You could be calling from your home about an incident up the street or for your next-door neighbor. If you can’t give us the address, you may be asked for directions or a description of the location. Some other questions you will be asked are:

  1. WHERE
  2. WHAT
  3. WHEN
  4. WHO
  5. WHY

We may ask other questions to gather specific details about the location, suspects, or victims.

Just as soon as we get the answers to WHERE and WHAT, the telecommunicator can enter the call in the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and dispatch the appropriate public safety personnel to your call. After the telecommunicator has dispatched the public safety personnel, then comes WHO. Do you know the person? You will need to describe the person. Describing a person is not as easy as it sounds; however, the telecommunicator can guide you through this process. All additional information will be relayed to the public safety personnel.

Remember: Answering questions does NOT necessarily delay the dispatch of assistance. A dispatcher is sending help your way while the call taker takes additional information from you. The more pertinent information you give us, the safer everyone will be.

If you are a little excited or in a panic when you call, it’s OK. Just take a deep breath and try to calm down. The telecommunicators can assist you. We need you to be our eyes and ears.