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911 calls are received by dispatchers that are trained and dedicated to screening calls quickly and efficiently. They must get information quickly in order to dispatch police, fire, or ambulance units to the location.
You can help expedite emergency response by being prepared to answer the dispatcher's questions. Where, what, who, and when are very important details of an emergency. Some questions may seem unnecessary to you or may not make sense, but there are good reasons that they are asked.
Reporting an Emergency
Steps for reporting an emergency:
- Dial 911
- Tell the dispatcher what you need, whether it be police, ambulance, or fire department
- Be calm. When a caller is upset, it is difficult to understand what they are saying and obtain vital information quickly
- Stay on the phone. Do not hang up!
- Give the address of the emergency that you are reporting as well as your name and address
- If possible, give the dispatcher any suspect, weapon, or vehicle descriptions
If you dial 911 by accident, do not hang up. If you do not remain on the line, the dispatcher is required to dispatch officers to the location the call was made from in order to confirm that no emergency exists.
The purpose of the 911 system is to provide emergency fire, ambulance, and police response. In order for this to be accomplished in an effective and efficient manner, it is imperative that 911 calls be made only for emergencies where persons or property are in immediate danger. Emergencies are when a crime is in progress or there is currently a life threatening situation that requires police, fire or ambulance response.
Dialing 911 for a non-emergent request for service will not expedite your call. What it will do is cause delays in emergency response that could be avoided.
Non-Emergent Calls for Assistance
There are times when police response is necessary, however, there is no danger to life, limb, or property. Complaints such as loud music, barking dogs, lost items, check fraud, or littering are examples of reports that should be made to the Police Department through non-emergent telephone lines. You can contact the Police Department 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on the non-emergent telephone line at 307-358-3311 to report these instances. If you are at a payphone, you can dial 0 for the operator and ask for the non-emergency line to the Police Department and you will not be charged.
Please help us keep the emergency lines dedicated to emergencies.