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Northwest CT Public Safety requires that each address or location be asked and verified to the following standard:
Please provide the dispatcher with the address as well as any additional location details or access instructions as soon as possible. This may include how to enter your home, lock box instructions, better location info inside a large complex or business. Also, do not be alarmed when the dispatcher asks you to repeat location information. This ensures help is sent to the correct location.
To be better prepared for possible future emergencies write down your information, along with your phone number, and place it somewhere where it can be found easily and quickly for someone who may not be familiar with the exact location of your home or business such as a babysitter or a customer.
If at all possible, use a landline instead of a cell phone. When calling from a landline the address information will automatically come up on our screen. Cell phone location technology is improving but still has a large margin of error and could be off by 2 or 3 houses.
Northwest Connecticut Public Safety (NWCTPS) dispatchers are all certified State of CT Telecommunicators and certified Emergency Police, Fire and Medical Dispatchers by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. NWCTPS dispatchers will ask a series of questions in a prescribed order to get you the best help for your situation.
When answering the questions, it is best to get straight to the point and state the reason why you decided to call 911 right now and the dispatcher will clarify as needed. Based on your statements, the dispatchers' training, and our line of questioning, the dispatcher will determine the best “nature” of the emergency.
For medical calls, it is generally best to be right next to the patient if possible as the dispatcher may ask you real-time information on the patient’s status as well as give you critical lifesaving instructions, so we can provide help prior to the arrival of the responders.
For fire and police incidents calls should always be made from a safe location but also be prepared to answer detailed questions about the event.
Please let dispatchers take the lead on asking questions as this saves time and prevents questions from being repeated that may have already been answered.
Ask this question. “Is this happening RIGHT NOW?” Here are some examples:
When in doubt call 911 and we will be able to assist you further.
Yes and No.
Our current 911 system will provide the exact street address for landline calls made to 911 only. The address includes the registered owners/business name, address, and city. When calling 911 and you have a choice between landline and cellular always pick landline.
For cellular calls, location is approximated through radio signal strength of your phone’s connection to three cellular phone towers. This gives 911 dispatchers a best guess as to your location but there is considerable margin for error.
As part of the next-generation 911 upgrade other location information will eventually become available to our dispatchers such as GPS or current WiFi access point addresses, but this technology is still in development.
Short answer is to get you the best help possible.
Not all emergency service vehicles or responders are created equal. Your situation might require a first responder with an advanced skill such as a Paramedic or a piece of fire apparatus with a unique tool on it such as the Jaws of Life.
The questions also dictate how the emergency vehicle and first responder drive to your incident. One of the leading causes of injury to first responders is motor vehicle accidents. If your incident doesn’t require an emergency “lights and siren” response, the responders will still respond promptly but with traffic and following all traffic laws “no lights and sirens”.
Stay on the line and talk to the dispatcher.
We get it and understand how easy it is to call 911 from a smartphone accidentally. The best action is to remain calm and stay on the line speaking with the dispatcher explaining the situation. If you do hang up, the dispatcher will call you back to see if you have an emergency.
Texting is a great option, however, it will never replace the speed and ease of a voice phone call. However, if you are unable to talk, texting is a great way to alert help. Either method will require some questioning by our trained staff, however text to 911 calls may take longer to process.