911 operators and dispatchers recognized the week of April 14-20
Each April, National Public Safety Telecommunications Week provides an opportunity to recognize the behind-the-scenes work our 911 operators and public safety dispatchers perform to ensure people who need help get prompt emergency assistance. This year, National Public Safety Telecommunications Week is April 14 – 20. Minneapolis will honor its 911 operators and dispatchers with a proclamation that will be read at the City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Health Committee meeting on April 17.
The City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis 911 are also using this time to remind folks about the importance of 911 and raising awareness of what to do and what not to do when calling to report an emergency.
Tips for calling 911
When calling 911 folks should follow these guidelines:
- Do not hang up. If the call isn’t answered immediately or if you encounter silence on the line, do not hang up and redial unless the silence lasts more than 8 seconds.
- Do not hang up if you call 911 by accident. Hang ups require 911 operators to call back the number the incoming 911 call came from. This happens up to 200 times a day and uses valuable 911 resources including phone lines that should be used for answering emergency calls.
- Give your location when calling 911. This includes, address, intersection, and landmarks. Be prepared to give a short description of a suspect.
- Help can be sent while you talk. A caller should state the problem briefly, answer the operator's questions and stay on the line until the operator terminates the call.
- You can ask 911 operators to stay on the line until help arrives.
- The situation does not have to be an emergency to call 911. Folks can call 911 to report suspicious, criminal activity in progress (e.g. alarms, shots fired, shouts for help, sounds of glass breaking, unfamiliar person carrying items from a house).
- If you need a translator, let the operator know or simply say, “Language line.”
When to call 911
There are many reasons to call 911 including:
- If the situation requires an ambulance or the fire department to respond immediately
- To report a situation that requires a police officer at the scene (for example: assaults, burglaries, kidnapping, domestic disputes, auto theft, accidents in which there are injures / or it is unknown whether injuries have occurred, etc.).
- To report a crime that is in progress
- To report suspicious criminal activity that you witness (for example: sounds of shots fired, cries for help, sounds of glass breaking or if you see an unfamiliar person carrying items from a house).
When not to call 911
There are also many reasons not to call 911. Folks should avoid calling 911 to get directions, legal advice, or to find out if someone is in jail. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Jail Roster is available online at http://www4.co.hennepin.mn.us/webbooking/ or by calling 612-348-5112. People should also not call 911 to report city issues that do not need police, fire, or an ambulance to respond. They should use the City of Minneapolis website or call 311.
The Minneapolis 911 center handles about 700,000 calls a year — approximately 2,000 calls a day in the summer and about 1,500 calls a day in the winter. On average, a 911 operator answers a call within 7.5 seconds. As calls come in, staff assesses the situation and enters crucial information into computers so that dispatchers can prioritize calls, send help and monitor the progress of emergency response.
National Public Safety Telecommunications Week was enacted by Congress in 1991 to honor the thousands of men and women who answer emergency calls and dispatch emergency professionals and equipment.
Published Apr. 15, 2013