Explaining How & When to Dial 9-1-1 if Trouble Occurs
BLOOMINGTON – You know how to dial 911 for help, but there still are lessons to learn during National 911 Education Month.
“One of the things we see every day are misdials or accidental dials to 911,” said Darren Wolf, communications center manager for Bloomington Police Department.
“We remind people that if that happens, to never hang up. Just explain to the operator what happened. We have to investigate each one to make sure everything is OK, because you never know (if) someone may be forcing someone into saying something.
But we do spend a lot of time checking each one of those out. Also, even though some cell phones are out of service, if they have a battery in them, they still could dial 911, so we tell people that if they are going to have their children playing with it, make sure you remove the battery.”
Many cities and counties have their own call centers, and some centers dispatch for multiple agencies. Increased technology allows many centers to receive location information based on the phone used to place the call; enhanced 911 and updated map information also allow some centers to provide specialized information to responders, such as whether a homeowner has a heart problem.
Emergency phone center leaders encourage you to be aware of your surroundings and stay calm when you call 911, so you can tell the call center operator where you are, share the problem and follow directions.
Callers should not text 911, which is for emergency use only.
The 911 number became the national emergency number for the United States in 1968. Emergency call centers are funded through a combination of government subsidies and a small assessment for each landline phone.
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