9-1-1 is an statewide emergency number for any police, fire or medical incident. We have assembled some Do's and Don'ts of 9-1-1 for your use.
Do not program 9-1-1 into your auto-dial/speed-dial telephone.
If your cellular phone has one-button dialing for 9-1-1 please disable the feature. You won't forget the number, and programming the number invites accidental dialing of the number. Everyday we receive "accidental" 9-1-1 calls from the public. Please do not dial 9-1-1 to "test" your phone or the system. This needlessly burdens the dispatchers and system with non-emergency calls.
Dial 9-1-1 only for an emergency.
An emergency is any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding), any type of fire (business, car, building), or any life-threatening situation (fights, person with weapons, etc.). You can also use 9-1-1 to report crimes in progress, whether or not a life is threatened.
Do not dial 9-1-1 for a non-emergency.
Instead, dial the agency's listed 7-digit non-emergency telephone number. Examples of non-emergency incidents are a break-in to a vehicle when suspect is gone, theft of property (when suspect is gone), vandalism (when suspect is gone), panhandlers, intoxicated persons who are not disorderly, or cars blocking the street or alleys. Requests for general information not related to an incident in progress should never be made to 9-1-1. Instead please call the appropriate agency direct by using their non-emergency number.
On Thursday, August 14 2003, Connecticut became part of the largest power failure in United States history. When the lights went out, we were swamped by people calling 9-1-1 to find out:
- Is the power really out? (yes, it is)
- Why is the power out? (we don't know)
- When is the power coming back on? (we don't know)
If you feel that you must call to report a power failure, call your police or fire department's non-emergency phone number. If you have a true power-related emergency, please call 9-1-1 and we will send help.
If you dialed 9-1-1 in error, do not hang up the telephone.
Instead, stay on the line and explain to the dispatcher that you dialed by mistake and that you do not have an emergency. If you hang up, a dispatcher will call back to confirm that there is no emergency. Depending on the jurisdiction involved, a police officer may be dispatched to confirm that you are OK. If you don't answer when we call back, a police officer will be dispatched to confirm that you are OK. This will needlessly take resources away from genuine emergencies.
Briefly describe the type of incident you are reporting.
For example, "I'm reporting an auto fire," or "I'm reporting an unconscious person," or "I'm reporting a shoplifter." Then stay on the line with the dispatcher – do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to. In some cases, the dispatcher will keep you on the line while the emergency units are responding to ask additional questions or to obtain on-going information.
Let the dispatcher ask you questions.
They have been trained to ask questions that will help prioritize the incident, locate it and speed an appropriate response. Your answers should be brief and responsive. Remain calm and speak clearly. If you are not in a position to give full answers to the dispatcher (the suspect is nearby), stay on the phone and the dispatcher will ask you questions that can be answered "yes" or "no."
Be patient as the dispatcher asks you questions.
While you are answering the dispatcher's questions, he/she is entering or writing down the information. If you are reporting an emergency, most likely a response is being made while you are still on the line with the dispatcher.
Be prepared to describe your location and the location of the emergency.
Although our Enhanced 9-1-1 system will display your telephone number and location, the dispatcher must confirm the displayed address or may ask you for more specific location information about the victim or suspects.
If you are a cellular caller, your location may not be displayed for the dispatcher's reference.
You must be able to describe your location so emergency units can respond. Be aware of your current city or town, address, highway and direction, nearby cross-streets or interchanges, or other geographic points of reference. Cellular 9-1-1 calls are frequently routed to a central PSAP that could be many miles from your location. Be prepared to give the dispatcher your complete location – city or town, address or location, inside or outside, what floor or room, etc.
Be prepared to describe the persons involved in any incident.
This includes their race, sex, age, height and weight, color of hair, description of clothing, and presence of a hat, glasses or facial hair.
Be prepared to describe any vehicles involved in the incident. This includes the color, year, make, model and type of vehicle (sedan, pick-up, sport utility, van, tanker truck, flatbed, etc.). If the vehicle is parked the dispatcher will need to know the direction it's facing. If the vehicle is moving or has left, the dispatcher will need to know the last direction.
Don't hang up until the call-taker tells you to.
Follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you, such as meeting the officers at the door, or flagging down the firefighters at the curb. Listen to the dispatcher's instructions for assistance if you are in danger yourself. The dispatcher may tell you to leave the building, secure yourself in a room or take other action to protect yourself.
If you are able and have training, apply first aid to any patient who needs it.
Give the victim reassurance that help is on the way. Secure any dogs or other pets that may interfere with the emergency response. Gather any medications the patient is taking as the medical crew will need to take them with the patient.
Groton Emergency Communications Center
Captain James Bee, Deputy Director
68 Groton Long Point Road
Groton, CT 06340
24 Hour Emergency 860-445-2497