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Teaching Children about 9-1-1

• Teach your children HOW and WHEN TO call 9-1-1

Always tell them to dial "nine-one-one", never refer to this emergency number as "nine-eleven". There is no such number as "eleven" on the telephone and a child may easily become confused in the process of dialing.

• Teach your children to TRUST the 9-1-1 operator - explain to them that 9-1-1 is their friend and a source of help to them during an emergency.

• Teach your children their home address, phone number and full name.

• Advise your children about any possible emergency situation likely to occur at your home or location. Explain what things to look out for.

If a member of the family has a medical condition, tell your children how to identify these symptoms, i.e., person not breathing or suddenly collapsing, etc.

Instruct the child to call 9-1-1 should these symptoms occur.

• Carefully explain to your children that 9-1-1 is for an emergency and that an emergency is when they need to get law enforcement, the fire department or paramedics in a hurry.

Also explain that 9-1-1 IS NOT A TOY OR GAME and should never be played with unless it is actually needed.

Teach your child if the “accidentally dial 9-1-1” DO NOT hang up. If you hang up, we will send a Police Officer to your home to make sure everything is alright.

Possibly use the classic "Crying Wolf" story and relate it to the use of 9-1-1

At the same time you must avoid discouraging a child from using 9-1-1. Any time that they think they need to call, encourage them to use 9-1-1, even if they are in doubt.

News and Announcements
Culpeper County Introduces Smart911 as New Public Safety Service
Town and County Officials Urge Citizens to Create a Safety Profile Providing Emergency Responders 
with Critical Information that Can Save Time and Lives
CULPEPER, Va., May 1, 2013 – Culpeper County announced today that Smart911 is now available to all  
citizens for free to enhance 9-1-1 emergency services.  
Smart911 enables citizens to create a Safety Profile online that can include any information about their  
household that they want 9-1-1 to have in an emergency.  
When an emergency call is made, their profile is immediately delivered to the 9-1-1 call-taker,  
resulting in far greater emergency response effectiveness and saved lives.  
“Currently when we receive an incoming 9-1-1 call, we have limited information.  
That is especially true for calls from mobile phones,”  
said the Director of Culpeper County Public Safety E-9-1-1 Communications Center, William Martin.  
“Having more information to better understand the situation is an immeasurable benefit to our call-takers.”


When to call 9-1-1

When should I use 9-1-1?

Use 9-1-1 to stop a crime in progress, report a fire, or call for an ambulance. 9-1-1 is the right number to call in an emergency when a prompt response is needed. There could be a fight or an assault occurring right now, a fire burning, or a medical problem occurring now which could be life threatening.

The person who answers your 9-1-1 call is a trained dispatcher. They will ask you questions to determine what kind of help you need – Fire, Police, or Medical. Be prepared to state the nature of the emergency, and please answer all the questions. Answering questions does not delay response. As they ask their questions, keep your answers as short and direct as possible.

Questions could include:
• What happened?
• What is the location?
• Where are you calling from?
• What is your name?
• What is your phone number?
While on the phone with the call taker, EMERGENCY help is being dispatched. Staying on the line, if asked to do so, will NOT delay help from responding units. If it is possible and does not compromise your safety, do not hang up the phone until the 9-1-1 call taker says it is okay to hang up.

What if I call 9-1-1 by mistake?

Please stay on the line if you call 9-1-1 by accident, and tell the dispatcher that everything is OK. If you do not stay on the line we may have to send a police officer to your home to make sure there is not a problem.

When should I use the non-emergency number?

540-727-7900 is a ten digit non-emergency number which you can dial 24 hours a day in Culpeper County for non-emergency help. Using the non-emergency number keeps 9-1-1 available for true emergencies.

Some examples of times when you should call 540-727-7900 are:
• Your house or car was broken into yesterday.
• Your runaway child has returned home.
• You need to add additional items to the burglary report you made last week.
• Your car was stolen sometime overnight.
• Someone stole your bike while you were at school.

How does 911 Work

How Does My Call Get to 9-1-1?

When you call from a phone installed at a residence, business or a pay phone, the phone number of the phone determines which 9-1-1 center you reach. Each 9-1-1 center or Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) has an enormous list of phone numbers that are designated to come to that center. All of these numbers have a special secondary number on file with the phone company that directs your call to the correct 9-1-1 center for your area.

If you call from a cell phone the procedure is slightly different. Cell phones transmit to the nearest cellular tower and from there to the closest 9-1-1 center. The 9-1-1 center is determined by the location of the cell tower. Sometimes if you are close to a county or state border, you might get the wrong 9-1-1 center. However, the employees there will direct your call to the correct center to get the help you need.

If you are hearing or speech impaired, the Communications Division is equipped with a Text Telephone (TTY) device to allow communication through your TTY device.

If you do not speak English, we will contact the Language Line to provide an interpreter. It helps us if you are able to tell us the name of the language you speak in English, so we can tell the language line which interpreter to choose.

Once you reach 9-1-1, the dispatcher will ask some questions. If you do not have an emergency, the dispatcher will refer you to a non-emergency number. Some of these calls go elsewhere through the non-emergency phone tree, but most are answered by the 9-1-1 dispatchers. The reason for getting you off the 9-1-1 line is twofold. One, we are trying to send help to the emergencies first, and two, we only have so many 9-1-1 telephone trunks. We want to keep those lines open for emergency calls. If you do have an emergency, the dispatcher will ask you questions to determine who to send. Some of these questions will be:

• Where are you? There are ambulances, fire trucks and police officers all over Culpeper County. We want to send the ones who are closest and can provide the quickest help. We really need an exact address, but sometimes you won’t know that. We will ask for cross streets, what kind of building it is, what color is it and other questions to help us find you as quickly as possible.

• What is going on now? We will ask specific questions related to the situation. Sometimes responders may need special equipment, and not all vehicles carry the same kind of stuff. We want to send you the right help.

While we ask the 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 the responders. For example, it often helps the medics on the ambulance to know what kind of medication the patient takes every day. The patient might be having a breathing problem that is unrelated to the medication, but that information will improve the quality of care the paramedics can provide.

We take over a 200,000 calls a year here at the Culpeper County 9-1-1 Center. The dispatchers keep track of all the responding units and all of the calls waiting for service. Sometimes it is necessary to change the assignment of a unit so they can respond to a different call that is more of an emergency. On our busiest days, some non-emergency calls can wait for a significant amount of time. Please do not hang up, we have not forgotten you, and we are working as fast as we can.

Public Safety Communication Center Mission Statement

The Culpeper County Public Safety Communication Center will provide high quality call taking, dispatching, and communications services to the public and to those public safety personnel that depend on its support.

Contact Information


Culpeper County Public Safety Communications Center
14022 Public Safety Ct.
Culpeper, Va. 22701

Main: 540-727-7900
Office: 540-727-8800

Fax: 540-727-9554



William E. Martin, Jr.
E-911 Deputy Director:
Jennifer Rosenfeld


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