If There is an Immediate, Life-threatening Emergency, DIAL 9-1-1.
To report a crime or note suspicious activity, call 9-1-1, even if it is not an "emergency." It can be frightening to call 9-1-1 for emergency help, but it is important for emergency services personnel to know the information necessary in order to provide proper emergency service to those in need, and even more important for you to stay as calm as possible to assist the 9-1-1 dispatcher.
Keep the following information on hand, and leave it where it will be immediately available in case the need to call 9-1-1 arises. It would be wise to review this information with all members of the family, especially children.
To Report an Incident to 9-1-1
The 9-1-1 operator will need the following information when taking a report of an incident in progress (taking place at the time you call) or one that has happened prior to the call. Giving the operator this information will reduce the number of questions that have to be asked and speed police or fire response.
Address where you are now
Type of incident: burglary, shoplift, assault, etc.
Where and when the incident occurred or is occurring
Your name and job title if on the job
Where the person(s) committing the incident are located or where they went if they are now gone
Description of suspect(s) (for each person involved):
Race (White, Black, Asian, Indian, etc.)
Sex (male, female)
Age (best guess)
Clothes (from top to bottom)
Description of suspect(s) car
Additionally, if you are calling about an incident in progress, the operator may want to know if you have the ability to safely stall the suspect(s) until police arrive.
There will be additional information that the operator and responding units will need to know. Remember: help is already on the way - the operator is gathering more information for the responding units.
Cell Phone ABCs for 9-1-1 Calls
Cell phones are an important public safety tool, but they also create challenges for public safety and emergency responders. It is important for cell phone users, who are calling 9-1-1, to remember some basic ABCs:
A - Always be Aware of your surroundings. Tell the 9-1-1 operator the location of the emergency. Provide landmarks such as cross streets and mileposts.
B - Be Prepared. Memorize the cell phone number so it can be readily given to the 9-1-1 operator when asked.
C - Stay Connected. Do not hang up until told to do so. If you should get disconnected, call the 9-1-1 operator back.
Accidental 9-1-1 Calls on Cell Phones
Accidental 9-1-1 calls occur more and more frquently. Help Prevent This Growing Crises. Eliminate Misdialing by Following Three Easy Steps:
- Lock your keypad. Refer to your phone's user manual for instructions.
- Turn off the 9-1-1 Auto-dial feature. Not all cell phones have this feature.
- Do not Program 9-1-1 into the Speed Dial.
If you do accidentally dial 9-1-1, stay on the phone. Before you hang up, tell the 9-1-1 operator that your call is a misdial. If you hang up, this will autmatically generate a follow up return call if the dispatcher has your number displayed to see if you are OK.
Who Answers My Call to 9-1-1?
That is a good question. If you are calling from a landline, the agency that handles your 9-1-1 call will be based on the address of the physical location your landline is located at. For unincorporated areas of Violet Township and those inside the City of Canal Winchester, that agency would be the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office. For those inside the corporation limits of Columbus, Pickerington and Reynoldsburg, your call will be answered by your municipalitie's law enforcement agency. If it is determined you have a fire or medical emergency, you will be transferred to our regional Metropolitan Emergency Communications Center (MECC). The dispatcher willl ask you several questions in order to determine exactly what type of assistance you need. They will be able to provide instructions over the phone to help you provide emergency care, CPR, or other first aid steps until the Medic units arrive. MECC dispatchers are trained and experienced in EMD - Emergency Medical Dispatch. Many are or have been firefighters, EMT’s, or Paramedics so they are experienced in many types of emergencies.
If you are calling from a cell phone, it depends on where your actual phyisical location in relation to the nearest cell phone tower is. The call then goes to predetermined answer points such as the county sheriff, Highway Patrol or Columbus Police. Technology is slowly catching up, but remains behind. The 9-1-1 dispatcher will not immediately know who or where you are. When calling from a cell phone, do your best to describe exactly where you are. Use intersections, mile markers, and directions such as "east of the intersection of..." whenever possible. Remain calm and give the best description of where you are.