A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

9-1-1 Education Month

April 9, 2013

April is National 9-1-1 Education Month and a great time to learn the ins and outs of this essential emergency tool and how to provide the best possible information to emergency dispatchers.

Dispatchers are trained to obtain necessary information about situations in the most expedient manner. They accurately and concisely record that information, dispatch appropriate emergency response units and then relay situational information to responders.

For 45 years, 9-1-1 has served as the vital link between the public and emergency services. Public education and awareness has contributed to the ongoing success of the 9-1-1 communications system as a whole, but it is imperative that these efforts are continued in the face of an ever-changing telecommunications landscape. People of all ages need to be well versed in the roles they play in ensuring effective and efficient emergency responses for themselves and others.

Most people in the U.S. own cell phones and some households do not use landline phones at all. Consequently, hundreds of thousands of wireless 9-1-1 calls are made daily nationwide. Public safety dispatchers answer 9-1-1 calls as well as handling numerous other functions. Accidental 9-1-1 calls can happen when a phone is put in a pocket, on a belt clip or in a purse. Even a locked phone can dial 9-1-1 and waste vital resources and time that may be needed elsewhere in an emergency.

Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Dial 9-1-1 for police, fire and medical emergencies only;
  • Know the location of the incident. Providing an accurate address is critically important, especially when making a wireless 9-1-1 call;
  • If you call 9-1-1, don’t hang up;
  • Don’t call 9-1-1 for jokes or prank calls;
  • When you call 9-1-1, pay attention to the questions that you are being asked;
  • Stay on the line with the 9-1-1 dispatcher and answer all questions. The more information they have, the better they are able to help you; and
  • Stay calm and speak clearly.

For further information regarding 9-1-1 education and for informational resources, contact the UC Merced Department of Public Safety at 209-CAT-COPS (228-2677).