Tips For Calling 9-1-1

This month’s guest speaker at the North Precinct Advisory Council was a supervisor from the 9-1-1 Call Center. Here are some tips for when you call 9-1-1

  • Know ahead of time where you are so you can tell them when they ask
  • Know your directions – N,S,E,W – so you can tell them, for instance that the noise you heard was north of your house, or the car you saw was speeding west
  • Know your address – many calls come in from people who don’t know their home address!
  • If you don’t speak English, know how to say the name of your language in English; the call taker can get a translator on the line quickly
  • Let the call taker control the conversation; he/she is trained to triage by asking  important questions first, and sometimes starts the dispatch process even while you speak if it is warranted. They are not being rude if they cut you off to ask a question that may not seem relevent to you.
  • If all the call takers are busy, the phone will continue to ring, so just hang on. You’ll never get a busy signal.
  • Calls are prioritized, so if there are more dire events happening in your sector officers may take a while to get there.
  • If response is delayed due to prioritization and availability of officers, the dispatchers will (should) call you about every hour to let you know the status of your call.
  • Sometimes when officers are dispatched they will take care of the situation (such as a noise complaint) but will not come talk to you. You can call the next day to ask about the status of the case.
  • The non-emergency police phone number is 206-625-5011. It is an automated line, but you can get to an operator by choosing first 2 and then 8. 🙂

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