Q: I just signed up with a new phone company. Can I still call 9-1-1?
A: Yes, but you may want to check with your new company to make sure that they have all of your correct information in the 9-1-1 database. Phone companies provide that information to the 9-1-1 database, which allows dispatchers to know where you live. Call your phone company to verify your records.
Q: Can people who are hearing impaired call 9-1-1?
A: Yes. 9-1-1 is accessible through text telephones, also known as TTY’s and TDD’s, for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability.
Q: Can I call 9-1-1 from my cell phone?
A: Of course, but calling 9-1-1 on a cell or wireless phone is different than calling from a traditional “landline” phone. Emergency calls from wireless phones may not automatically route to the appropriate 9-1-1 center, or provide all the details that are necessary for dispatching first responders – phone number, location or recognizable landmarks.
Q: How does 9-1-1 work?
A: When you call 9-1-1, your call is received by a trained communications specialist who takes your information. Then, the appropriate police, fire and/or medical services team located in your area is notified, and service is dispatched.
9-1-1 Dispatch Operations
Q: When should 9-1-1 be used?
A: Call 9-1-1 for police, fire, and medical service when an EMERGENCY response is needed.
Q: How do I use 9-1-1?
A: Remain calm and speak clearly. Provide the dispatcher with the following information.
- Where is the location
- What is your name and phone number?
- What is happening?
While we ask these questions, we are entering the information into a computerized dispatch system. Other dispatchers can see that information and send help to you while we are still talking to you on the phone. Answering questions DOES NOT delay response. We will often keep you on the phone and obtain more information to give to the responders. For example, it often helps the Please remain on the phone to provide additional information as requested by the dispatcher. DO NOT HANG UP until the dispatcher advises you to do so.
Q: What happens when I accidentally call 9-1-1 and hang up?
A: If you call from a wireline (aka landline) phone, your address and phone number automatically appears in the automatic number / location identification (ANI/ALI) system. You will receive a call back from our dispatch center to verify that everything is okay. If you fail to answer the phone, a police officer will be sent to your address to make sure everyone is alright.
If you call from a cell phone, your location and phone number may or may not appear in the ANI/ALI system, depending on your cell phone carrier and what type of cell phone you have. That is why it is extremely important to provide your location and phone number immediately when you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone.
Q: What if I don’t know if my problem is a real emergency?
A: Each person may have a different idea of what is an emergency. When in doubt, call 9-1-1 and the dispatcher can direct you to the appropriate agency.
Q: When I called 9-1-1, why did the dispatcher ask me all of those questions? All I needed was an ambulance!
A: In order for you to receive an ambulance, our dispatchers are required to ask a series of questions to determine the nature and seriousness of the problem. Our dispatchers are trained in the Medical Priority Dispatch System which allows them to determine who responds and how they respond. This allows for the most efficient use of the available resources, ensuring that when you have a medical emergency there are resources available to help you.
Q: If I have a problem after hours that is not an emergency, is there another number I can call beside 9-1-1?
Tolland County 911 Routine Number
Connecticut State Police Troop C
Vernon Police Department
Coventry Police Department
Q: I called 9-1-1 for an ambulance and I got a fire truck and an ambulance. Why did you send me a fire truck too?
A: Every time someone calls 9-1-1 for a medical situation, our dispatchers send resources according to protocol depending on the seriousness of the medical emergency and the location that you are in. Fire Departments that do not have ambulances perform first responder medical duties.
Q: I am considering buying VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service. How can I be sure my VoIP will connect to the correct 9-1-1 Center if I call during an emergency?
A: Most VoIP providers have internet web pages that contain all the information needed to evaluate their ability to handle an emergency communications. In addition, the information should be found in the contract for services.
If you use a TTY, you should:
- Stay calm, place the phone on the TTY and dial 9-1-1.
- After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times.
- Tell what is needed: police, fire or ambulance.
- Stay on the line if it is safe and answer the call taker’s questions.
Wireless 9-1-1 is divided into two phases:
Phase I- Your call will come into the 9-1-1 center with the wireless phone call back number, the carrier’s contact number and the location of the tower that received the call.
Phase II – In addition to the above information, this phase gives the 9-1-1 center a more precise geographical location, by using a Global Positioning System (GPS) built into the phone itself. Your phone needs to be Phase II compliant in order for your exact location to be provided. To determine this, consult your cell phone user’s manual. If the cell phone is equipped with a GPS chip, then it is Phase II compliant.
TIPS when calling from a cell phone:
- Even though your phone may be Phase II compatible, make sure you know your exact location.
- When you dial 9-1-1 from your cell phone it is instantly routed to the nearest cell phone tower and then rerouted to the nearest 9-1-1 center. Keep in mind that this initially may not be the 9-1-1 center from which you need help. After giving your location, you may be rerouted to the correct center.
- You may call 9-1-1 from a cell phone that has been disconnected. However, the 9-1-1 center will not receive the cell phone number and will not be able to call you back if you are disconnected. Be sure you give your location.
- If you lose contact with 9-1-1 while on a cell phone, call back.
Voice over Internet Protocol
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service is a rapidly growing alternative to traditional phone service due to its low prices and the consumer’s ability to choose a phone number from nearly anywhere in the country.
While VoIP is an attractive option, it is important for consumers to understand the potential limitations the technology has with respect to accessing 9-1-1.
If you are considering buying VoIP service, please visit the website, www.911voip.org which was created to help educate consumers on VoIP telephone services as it relates to accessing 9-1-1 emergency services.