911 Do's and Don'ts

 

For information about Prince George's County 911 Emergency Communications       visit the 9-1-1 Emergency Communications website.

 

Do not program 9-1-1 into your auto-dial telephone. Programming the number invites accidental dialing of the number. Also, please do not dial 9-1-1 to "test" your phone or the system. This needlessly burdens the dispatchers and system with non-emergency calls.

Dial 9-1-1 only for an emergency. An emergency is any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding), any type of fire (business, car, building), or any life-threatening situation (fights, person with weapons, etc.). Call 9-1-1 to report crimes in progress.

Do not dial 9-1-1 for a non-emergency. Instead, dial the Prince George’s County non-emergency telephone number, 301- 352-1200 or 311. A non-emergency incident is a property damage accident,  theft of property (when suspect is gone), vandalism (when suspect is gone), panhandlers, intoxicated persons who are not being disorderly, cars blocking the street or alleys, loud music, abandon vehicles (unoccupied),  etc.

9-1-1 calls are answered by a dispatcher. However, if all call-takers are busy on other calls, the 9-1-1 call is answered by a call distributor that holds the call, and then automatically routes it to the first available call-taker. Do not hang up if you reach a recording, and try to call back. Stay on the line and your call will be answered in order. If you hang up, your call will be delayed because you will be placed at the end of other callers.

Allow the call-taker to ask you questions. He or she has been trained to ask questions that will help prioritize the incident, locate it and send an appropriate response. Your answers should be brief and responsive. Remain calm and speak clearly. If you are not in a position to give full answers to the call-taker because the suspect is nearby, stay on the phone and the dispatcher will ask you questions that can be answered "yes" or "no."

Be prepared to describe your location and the location of the emergency. Enhanced    9-1-1 systems can display your telephone number and location when you call from a landline. The dispatcher must confirm the displayed information or may ask you for more specific location information about the victim, suspects and incident.

If you are using your mobile device, your telephone number and location will not be displayed for the dispatcher's reference. You must be able to describe your location so emergency units can respond. Be aware of your current city or town, address, highway and direction, nearby cross-streets or interchanges, or other geographic points of reference.

Be prepared to describe the persons involved in any incident. This includes their race, sex, age, height and weight, color of hair, hair style, description of clothing, tattoos, scars  and presence of a hat, glasses or facial hair. Any information you can give the dispatcher is helpful.

Be prepared to describe any vehicles involved in the incident. This includes the color, year, make, model and type of vehicle (sedan, pick-up, sport utility vehicle (suv), minivan, motorcycle, tanker truck, flatbed, etc.).

Do not hang up until the call-taker tells you to. Follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you, such as meeting the officers at the door, or flagging down the firefighters at the curb.

For additional information visit the 9-1-1 Emergency Communications website.

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