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Teaching Children about 9-1-1
When Should You Use 911?
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 should be a fight or an assault occurring right now, a fire burning or a medical problem 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?
If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, please stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is okay. If you do not stay on the line we have to send a police officer to your home to make sure there is not a problem. Keep in mind, cell phones that are deactivated or have no minutes left on them can still call 9-1-1. If you are letting your child play on your old or inactive cell phone, please remove the battery. If you need non-emergency help, please call 540.727.7900. You can dial this number 24 hours a day. Using the non-emergency number keeps 9-1-1 available for true emergencies. Some examples of times when you should utilize the non-emergency number include: your home or vehicle was broken into yesterday, you locked your keys in your vehicle, your runaway child has returned home, or someone stole your bike while you were at school.
We take over 200,000 calls a year here at the Culpeper E-911 Center. The dispatchers keep track of all the responding units and all 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. WE are working as fast as we can.