Emergency Services

FAQs

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FAQs

How come you know my address and phone number when I call?

You already know my address and phone number, so why do you ask me anyway?

Why do you ask so many irrelevant questions when I call 911?

Why can't you just send help instead of keeping me on the phone?

Why do you ask me the same questions over and over?

When should I call 911?

When should I NOT call 911?

Can I still get 911 if I dial the operator?

What happens when I call 911 accidentally and hang up?

Why can't you just take my non-emergency call on 911 when we are both on the line already?

What happens when you call 911 from your cell phone?

Q: How come you know my address and phone number when I call?

A: We have what is called "E911" or enhanced 911 capabilities at our center. That means that our computer-aided dispatch system has a link to the local telephone company's computer. When we answer the phone, a computer display shows the billing name, address, and number of the telephone on the other end.

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Q: You already know my address and phone number, so why do you ask me anyway?

A: Computers are wonderful, but not infallible. They do make mistakes, so we must ask just to make sure. Another possibility is that many people call from a neighbor's house, so we don't want to send help to the wrong place and waste precious time.

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Q: Why do you ask so many irrelevant questions when I call 911?

A:We ask questions pertaining to the location of an incident and descriptions of vehicles and people involved. Often we ask for descriptions of the victim's clothing as well as the suspect's clothing. This is to make sure that the officers who respond know which people are which. At times we also need to know if a crime is still occurring, or if it has occurred some time ago, in order to judge if the suspects are still near the crime scene, or if the officers need to go searching for them.

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Q: Why can't you just send help instead of keeping me on the phone?

A: In an emergency, you are likely to be highly upset or even frantic. But remember that most often while you are speaking to the radio telephone operator, help is being dispatched, and may be en-route to your location. Sometimes the radio telephone operator will keep you on the phone to try to keep you calm and occupied until help arrives. Sometimes they will even tell you what you can do to help the victim until help arrives. The best thing you can do is to be responsive and don't try to fight the radio telephone operator or hang up on him or her. If you've hung up before all the necessary information is relayed, you may delay the arrival of help!

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Q: Why do you ask me the same questions over and over?

A: We try to be as efficient and quick as possible. The only time we repeat questions is when the caller is too frantic to be understood. We understand that when a crisis occurs it's human nature to get upset, but when you scream, cry, or curse at us and we can't get the necessary information; you are just delaying the help you desperately need. Try to speak clearly and answer our questions completely.

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Q: When should I call 911?

A:Anything that has just occurred or is still in progress that could be life threatening. A medical emergency which needs an ambulance, a fire, or any incident which has injuries or unknown injuries.

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Q: When should I NOT call 911?

A: Anything that has occurred prior (like yesterday, days before, or even weeks before!), the responsible party is gone, a report for insurance purposes only, or if no person or property is in danger. Please do not call 911 to ask directions or in any other non-emergency situation.

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Q: Can I still get 911 if I dial the operator?

A: Yes. You get connected to 911; however, when you are connected through the operator we do not get your address or phone number on our enhanced 911 screens. (Many of us did not have 911 when we grew up and we would call the operator who would then transfer us to police, fire, or ambulance when needed.) By not dialing 911 it slows down the process by preventing us from simply verifying your address. When you call in an emergency, you are often upset, afraid, and not always thinking rationally. As a result you will sometimes forget your address, and we cannot get help to you until that address is determined.

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Q: What happens when I call 911 accidentally and hang up?

A: The dispatcher will try to call you back. If the dispatcher reaches a child on the phone, he/she will ask to speak to an adult. An officer will be dispatched to the residence if no adult can be reached. If no one answers, an officer will be dispatched. If the line is busy, the dispatcher will attempt to break through with the help of an operator to see if it was a misdial or there is an emergency needing help.

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Q: Why can't you just take my non-emergency call on 911 when we are both on the line already?

A:We only have 12 incoming 911 lines for the entire city. Any major incident will cause numerous lines to ring regarding this one incident. (Large fire, major traffic accident, etc.) Those 12 lines can get tied up quickly. If we are taking your non-emergency call also on 911, a real emergency caller may reach a busy signal.

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Q: What happens when I call 911 from my cell phone?

A: Today when you call 911 from your cell phone the call goes to the nearest regional cell phone answering point. In the Hartford area your call may go to the State Police. Be patient as the regional center connects the 911 call to our center or the nearest center to your location. In the future the cell phones will be connected to the dispatch center nearest you automatically and directly. We must wait for the technology to be completed and updated. We hope that this will take place in 2004, or at the very least early 2005.

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Emergency Services Contact

Call 9-1-1 For Police-Fire-Medical Emergencies

Emergency Services & Telecommunications
Public Safety Complex
253 High Street
Hartford, CT 06103
Administrative Contact: 
(860) 757-4050 

 

HARTFORD CITY HALL ADDRESS: 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 PHONE: (860)757-9311 HOURS: 8AM - 5PM