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Do not hesitate to use the 911 telephone number for any type of medical problem or injury, you see a fire or smell smoke, you see a crime being committed, or for any other type of emergency/safety issue. If the dispatcher determines that it is appropriate to do so they will then ask you to call them on a non-emergency line and will provide you with that telephone number.
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We understand that someone can call 911 by accident. This often occurs when people have 911 preset on their telephone. It also happens quite often when people sit on their cell phone or bump it while it is in a purse or book bag. If you dial 911 by accident, please do not just hang up. Stay on the line and simply tell the dispatcher that you called by accident and that everything is okay. If you hang up instead, the dispatcher is required to call you back to determine whether or not you had an emergency. If no one answers when they call you back, law enforcement will automatically be sent to your location to investigate.
The first and most important question you will be asked is "Where is your emergency"? This allows us to send some type of help should we lose contact with you. Even though we have "Enhanced 911," where you are calling from may not be where the help needs to be sent. Next, you will be asked about the nature of your emergency. This tells the dispatcher what type of help to send (police / fire / ambulance). You will be asked your name and phone number. Although you do not have to give this information, it is beneficial should we need to contact you to obtain additional information.
Do not use the 911 telephone number for any type of routine business such as accident reports, theft reports, keys locked in vehicle, animal problems, parking tickets, directory assistance (use 411), etc. While it is appropriate to call 911 for downed or arcing power lines, do not call 911 for power and water outages, call your utility provider. 911 personnel cannot provide you with outage information (location and duration) and calling 911 ties up emergency phone lines. Never call 911 as a prank or a joke. These calls are illegal and more importantly could cost someone else their life. A police officer / sheriff deputy will be dispatched to the location of these calls.