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The 9-1-1 Emergency System

The 9-1-1 Emergency System makes an important difference in our community everyday. It is your first source of help in times of crisis and it can mean the difference between life and death. When used properly, 9-1-1 saves seconds and those seconds can save lives.

Dialing 9-1-1 is the fastest, easiest way to communicate with local police, fire, and medical services during an emergency. You do this by simply waiting for the dial tone on your telephone, cellular phone or public telephone, then dialing 9-1-1.

By selecting one of the listed items below you will find out more about that item.

  1. When to dial 9-1-1
  2. When calling 9-1-1
  3. Special tips for senior citizens or handicapped citizens
  4. When not to call 9-1-1
  5. What happens when you place a call to 9-1-1

When to Dial 9-1-1...

An emergency is when immediate police, fire department or medical assistance is necessary to protect life or property.

If an emergency situation arises - a crime, a fire, a serious injury or illness - ask yourself whether police, fire department or medical assistance is needed right now to protect life or property. If the answer is YES, then immediately dial 9-1-1 and advise the 9-1-1 operator of what has happened or is happening.

Call 9-1-1 whenever you believe there is an emergency. If you are not sure it's a real emergency, dial 9-1-1 and the 9-1-1 operator will make the final determination.

If the 9-1-1 system receives several calls at the same time, emergency services handle these multiple calls on a priority basis. The most serious emergency will be handled first.

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When Calling 9-1-1...

  • Stay calm. Give your name, location, and nature of the emergency.
  • Listen carefully to the 9-1-1 operator.
  • Answer the 9-1-1 operator's questions as accurately as possible. Speak clearly and slowly.
  • Do exactly as the 9-1-1 operator tells you during the course of the call.
  • Never hang up on the 9-1-1 operator until you are told to do so. If you hang up and redial, your call will go to the end of the line of people waiting for service.

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Special Tips for Senior Citizens or Handicapped Citizens...

  • Invest in a touch-tone phone with large, easy-to-read numbers. Put a 9-1-1 reminder near the phone.
  • Always dial 9-1-1 for local police, fire or medical emergency assistance. Dialing "0" will not always connect you with an operator nearby. If may connect you with an operator many hundreds of miles away.
  • The 9-1-1 system allows the dispatcher to "know" where you are calling from even if you cannot speak - for instance, if you are experiencing a stroke or if there is an intruder in your home. Just dial 9-1-1 and leave the phone off the hook. DO NOT HANG UP.
  • Keep your medical history taped to the refrigerator in an envelope clearly marked with your doctor's phone number.

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When Not to Call 9-1-1

Do not dial 9-1-1 for non-emergency situations. For non-emergency situations such as noisy neighbors or stolen hub caps, use your police department's regular phone number, never 9-1-1.

Never tell a 9-1-1 operator that a situation is more serious than it really is. It is against the law to intentionally and knowingly give false information to the police or emergency services. Abuse of 9-1-1 may delay someone else's access to emergency assistance.

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What Happens When a Call is Placed to 9-1-1?

Call taker work station

A Call Taker receives all incoming 9-1-1 calls at a work station like the one to the right. The flow chart below depicts what happens when a call is received at the Emergency Communications Center. Below the flow chart is a brief description of the procedures that are always followed. For a more detailed description click on the box in the flow chart for the Call Taker, Fire Dispatch or Emergency Medical Service Dispatch.

What happens when a 911 call is placed?

How your call is handled Dispatching a fire call Dispatching a medical call

The Call Taker receives a 911 emergency call. They determine the nature of the emergency by asking specific questions of you (the caller). As you are answering their questions, they are pulling up your address on the Planning Departments Mapping system to verify the location.

If they determine that the emergency requires an ambulance then the Emergency Medical Service Dispatch Telecommunicator receives all pertinent information. If it is determined that the call is for a fire then the Fire Dispatch Telecommunicator receives all pertinent information. The Call Taker will continue asking you questions -- so remain calm and answer as thoroughly and coherently as possible any and all of the questions.

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Cumberland County, NC.
All Rights Reserved.
County Courthouse
117 Dick Street
Fayetteville, NC 28301