Question: People occasionally ask questions about 911 but rather than addressing a single question, following is a summary of what one could say is “911 Etiquette”
Answer: 911 was implemented nationwide to provide people with a universal phone number to dial in an emergency.
Speak clearly and know your location.
Dispatchers handle hundreds of calls per day on both the 911 system and non-emergency lines. Our standard questions begin with location and the nature of the emergency. We will ask you for your name and phone number as well as the patient’s name and date of birth (if someone other than you is in distress). If we are not familiar with where you are, we will ask for directions. If you are out of the Platteville emergency district, we will transfer the call. Please stay on the line as it will take a few seconds.
The general understanding of dialing 911 is that someone is in crisis. It is imperative that the dispatcher be able to understand what you need. Take a deep breath and compose yourself so services can be dispatched immediately. The information you provide can save your life of that of a loved one.
Stay on the phone when you dial 911. The call must hit a cell tower and then transfer to a dispatcher. It might seem like a long time, but actually is only seconds.
If you dial 911 in error, please stay on the phone so that the dispatcher can confirm that the call is in error. If you do not stay on the line, the dispatcher will call back the number and send an officer to check on you.
If you are calling about being involved in, or witnessing of an accident, we want to know the location, if there are any injuries and if the street is blocked. We’ll also ask if anyone is trapped in a vehicle so that we can have the fire department respond with JAWS – yes, the dispatcher handles all 911 calls for police, fire and the ambulance.
If you are calling about a car/deer accident, which happens quite frequently, please call yourself. Do not call a family member first and have them call, call us direct. We need to ask questions that only you can answer. We will ask the standard questions, but also if the deer is in the roadway.
If you are going to allow a small child to play with your de-activated phone, please remove the battery. De-activated phones are still able to dial 911.
When someone dials 911 repeatedly without an emergency (which happens occasionally), there is the potential to be issued a citation for Misuse of 911 which will cost $263.50, a court date and a potential criminal record.
911 is a great tool to report emergencies, please use it for such. We are here to get you the help you need.