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Washington County 9-1-1 Dispatch Center And The Importance Of Emergency Communication

/20Washington County Sheriff Matt Thomas advised that Washington County Sheriff’s Office was recently approved for IPSCC 911 Grant in conjunction with Payette County Sheriff’s Office. “I thought we would hit on some important points of 911 Emergency Communications and what to expect or do when calling 911”.
Have you ever wondering what qualifies as a 911 Emergency?? When should you call 911 Emergency?? Do you need help?? An emergency is any serious situation where police, fire fighter or medical help is needed right away. IF YOU ARE UNSURE IF YOUR SITUATION IS AN EMERGENCY… ALWAYS CALL. Dispatchers are willing to assist with any situation you are experiencing.
If you happen to call 911 by accident, PLEASE DO NOT HANG UP. 911 takes every emergency call seriously and we will call you back to verify that you are safe.
Don’t assume that dispatchers always have your address and phone number. With all the Next Generation 911 and Text 2 9-1-1 Technology, it is surprising to discover that cell phones occasionally STILL return to the cell phone provider’s tower instead of the callers exact location. Dispatcher are trained to ALWAYS ask the location of the emergency and your call back number.
Posting your address at the entrance to your driveway and/or visibly on your residence will alleviate any confusion as to whether emergency responders have the correct location when responding. Reflective or Illuminated house numbers are best to use.
Teach your children how to use 911.* Be sure to have the phone within reach for a child to use* Be sure children know how, why and when to call 911* Why and how to stay calm and try to answer all the questions asked* Know their address and phone number* Know their parents’ names* Know to always stay on the phone with 911 until instructed to hang up* Know that 911 is not a toy and should never be abused
NOTE: Old cell phones no longer in use are still able to call 911. If you give old phones to your children to play with,PLEASE remove the batteries.
Why do the dispatchers ask so many questions when I call 911?Emergency dispatchers need to get accurate information to allow deputies/officers to make the best decision on how toapproach the situation. Dispatchers handling fire and EMS calls must also consider the well-being of the public and thesafety of the firefighters and paramedics. Callers will be asked:* Where    * When* What      * Weapons* Who
The information you provide a dispatcher is relayed to responding deputies/officers, paramedics or firefighters while they are on their way to the call. This allows them to help make educated decisions about how they respond to the call and what equipment they take with them.
If I call 911, what will they ask me?*WHERE? What is the location of the emergency? (The call may need to be transferred to another agency) This is the address where the emergency is actually happening, include room # or suite #, floor, entrance, etc. If you don’t know the actual address, tell the dispatcher and then:* Give cross streets or provide landmarks, business names or parks near the emergency.* Look at the house numbers in the area.
* If you are calling from inside a home or business, look on a piece of mail.* If you are hunting and have a GPS, offer dispatchers the GPS coordinates.
*WHAT? What is the phone number you’re calling from?This is the number to the phone you’re actually calling from. We need this in case we have to call you back.* If you are not at home, do not give your home phone number.* Know what your cell phone number is.
*WHAT? What is the problem?Tell us exactly what happened. Be as concise as possible. Tell us what just happened, not what led up to the event.* “I see a fight on the corner of Broadway and West End.”* “My ex-boyfriend just kicked my door in.”* “There is a car accident at mile marker 96 northbound on Hwy 95.”
*WHO? Who is involved? Are you involved or witness? Suspect name if known or description. Is suspect still there or Have they left? Description* Name * Male/Female and White/Black/Hispanic/Asian* Short/Tall – Heavy/Thin * Jacket, Shirt, Pants* Beard, bald, hair color and style such as blonde pony tail or shoulder length, etc.* Boots, Tennis Shoes, Sandals * Leave on foot or in a vehicle*Direction of travel
*WHEN? Is this happening now or did it happen a while ago?
*WEAPONS? Does anyone at the scene have a weapon? What is the weapon? Where is the weapon? What are they doing with the weapon?* Gun * Knife* Fist fight   * Baseball bat or stick
*VEHICLE INFORMATION?
* Color – if unknown, light or dark * Year – newer or older* Make/Model – Honda Accord or Ford F150 * License – Plate and State – even partial info helps* Additional – Toolbox, window decals, bumper stickers, broken window, noticeable damage, etc.
Why do dispatchers ask so many questions on a medical call?You will be asked a series of questions that will help determine the response of paramedics to the call. The paramedics will be better prepared to help the patient with the information you have provided. ALL WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE 911 DISPATCHERS are EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) trained and certified. We can walk you through as to what to do until paramedics and first responders arrive.* Location of Patient* Address* Inside or Outside* Are you with the patient?* Valuable time may be saved by having someone waiting outside to direct first responders tothe patient.
* What is happening with patient right now?
* Do you know what caused incident (fall, stabbed, history of heart problems?)
* How old is patient?
* Age if known (child, teen, young adult, middle-aged or elderly person.) This can determine treatmentand response. May indicate a need for law enforcement investigation.
* Is patient conscious and breathing?* EMS may ask these and other questions
If I call to report a fire what should I tell the dispatcher?* Location of the fire.* What is on fire.
* Building, vehicle, or grass* How large is the fire? Estimate size such as size of football field, about the size of a vehicle or a Single parking space, size of a normal room in a house, especially useful in grass fires, bigger than A grocery store parking lot, etc.* Any structures threatened. Are there any homes or buildings that could be in danger?* Do you know if anyone is inside the house or building?* Is anyone injured?* What color is the smoke or flames?
Why would a 911 put a caller on hold?* There are many reasons.- We may be getting multiple calls on the same incident and need to make sure that the other 911 calls aren’t callers with more information or another emergency.- We have a limited number of people to answer the phones.* Washington County has four 911 trunks and if they aren’t answered, they roll over to Payette County.- We may need to transfer a 911 caller to another agency. We receive 911 calls from Baker County, Payette County, Valley County, Adams County and Gem County.- We may need to verify information to be certain that the correct responders are sent. It is better to put the caller on hold briefly than to transfer to another agency and the caller is then transferred again.- Sometimes the dispatcher may not immediately answer your question because they are keyed up talking to emergency responders. The 911 system automatically mutes the microphone to the caller when the dispatcher is talking on the radio.
We also need to know if you’re going to be at, or near, the scene when we arrive because the police may need to talk to you, or you may need to point out the exact location. We may ask you what kind of car you are in, or what color clothing you are wearing.

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