Commonly Asked Questions
WHAT IS 9-1-1?
Nine-one-one is the number most people in the U.S. and some in International countries call to get help in a police, fire or medical emergency. In some places, you may be able to connect with Poison Control by calling 9-1-1, but you should check with local officials in your area to make sure. A 9-1-1 call goes over dedicated phone lines to the 9-1-1 answering point closest to the caller, and trained personnel then send the emergency help needed.
WHAT IS ENHANCED 9-1-1?
Enhanced 9-1-1 or E9-1-1 is a system which routes an emergency call to the 9-1-1 center closest to the caller AND automatically displays the caller's phone number and address. The 9-1-1 call taker will typically ask the caller to verify the information that appears on his/her computer scree. In most areas, phone number and location information is not yet available for 9-1-1 calls made from a cellular/wireless device.
WHO PAYS FOR 9-1-1?
Each household or business pays a small monthly fee for 9-1-1 service on each telephone line that appears on their phone bill. There is no per-call charge for calling 9-1-1. However, EMS/ambulances dispatched through 9-1-1 may charge for taking someone to the hospital. This is a separate ambulance charge and not a 9-1-1 call charge.
IS A PERSON HURT OR IN DANGER? DO YOU NEED THE POLICE, FIRE OR AMBULANCE?
Have you ever wondered whether or not to call 9-1-1? Since 9-1-1 is for emergencies only, it helps to understand when to call 9-1-1 and when not to call. An emergency is any serious situation where a law enforcement officer, fire fighter or emergency medical help is needed right away. If you are unsure of whether your situation is an emergency, go ahead and call 9-1-1. The 9-1-1 call taker can determine if you need emergency assistance and can route you to the correct location.
IF YOU DO CALL 9-1-1, EVEN BY MISTAKE, DO NOT HANG UP THE PHONE.
9-1-1 call takers are trained to get the most important information as quickly as possible to get help on the way to an emergency situation. In an emergency stuation, allow the call taker to ask you all of the questions that they need in order to get help there in the timeliest manner before you hang up or leave the phone. If you happen to call by accident, stay on the line until you can tell the call taker that you called by accident and there is no emergency. This saves the call taker from having to call you back and confirm that there is no emergency or sending police with lights and sires to check on your address for an emergency.
WHEN CALLING 9-1-1, DO YOUR BEST TO STAY CALM AND ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS.
Staying calm can be one of the most difficult, yet most important things that you can do when calling 9-1-1. It is very important that you stay as calm as possible and answer all of the questions the 9-1-1 call taker asks. The questions that a 9-1-1 call taker asks, no matter how relevant they seem to you, are important in helping get the first responders to you as fast as possible.
WHY DOES 9-1-1 ASK SO MANY QUESTIONS?
Most of the questions that are asked help to understand the assistance that is needed and by answering them, it helps the call taker understand your situation and will assist you with your emergency until the appropriate police, fire or medical units arrive. Answering these questions to the best of your ability help get the best help needed in the quickest amount of time. These questions help the first responders or law enforcement stay knowledgeable about the scen and some of the questions are required by law.
SHOULD I TEACH MY CHILDREN HOW TO CALL 9-1-1?
Be sure they know what 9-1-1 is, how to dial from your home and cell phone, and to trust the 9-1-1 call taker. Make sure your child is physically able to reach at least one phone in your home. When calling 9-1-1 your child needs to know their name, parent’s name, telephone number, and most importantly their address. Tell them to answer all the call takers questions and to stay on the phone until instructed to hang up
ARE PRANK CALLS TO 9-1-1 REALLY ILLEGAL?
Yes. Prank calls are a waste of time, resources and are against the law. Be sure all members of your household are aware that prank or harassing calls to 9-1-1 will be dealt with by local law enforcement agencies.
SHOULD I REALLY POST MY ADDRESS, DON'T YOU KNOW WHERE I LIVE?
Clearly and prominently posting your 9-1-1 address at the driveway entrance and on your home will alleviate any confusion as to whether emergency responders have the correct location. Try using something reflective or illuminated so that it can be seen in the evening as well as during the day. Also, do not assume since your mailbox is marked that you have posted your address the best way. This is because alot of Cherokee County is rural and mailboxes are not always at the entrance of a driveway and usually are not marked clearly on both sides. Several cities and counties have ordinances for posting 9-1-1 addresses. You may need to check with your local ordinance. And always report missing street signs when noted. These not only help others find your home but are essential to emergency response personnel.
KNOW THE PHONES THAT YOU OWN.
Educate everyone about the phone system in your home as well as your cell phone. Children may need to use the devices in an emergency and will need to know how to operate them.
KNOW THE LOCATION OF THE EMERGENCY.
The wireless 9-1-1 caller must be aware that the 9-1-1 center that answers the call may not be the 9-1-1 center that services the area that the wireless caller is calling from. Look for landmarks, cross street signs and buildings. Know the name of the city or county you are in. Knowing the location is vital to getting the appropriate police, fire or EMS units to respond. Providing an accurate address is critically important when making a wireless 9-1-1 call.