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911: How It Works  

By Public Affairs Office
Thursday, July 16, 2009; 8:14 am

"Baltimore Police 911. What are you reporting?"


Here are some tips for calling 911. Reading these now may help you when an actual emergency occurs.

  • Remain calm
  • Be prepared to verify phone number and location
  • Be brief · Answer all questions
  • Do not hang up
  • Be prepared to give descriptions and license numbers
Remember: Answering questions does NOT delay the dispatch of assistance. A dispatcher is sending help your way while the Call Taker takes additional information from you. The more pertinent information you give us, the safer everyone will be.

About 911 hang-ups: Our policy is to respond to ALL 911 hang up calls. If you change your mind about needing assistance, stay on the line and explain that to the 911 Call Taker. Otherwise, an officer will be dispatched to your location to ensure that you are safe. Playing on the phone puts those who do need immediate help in danger and puts you in danger of being prosecuted for making a false report.

MORE TIPS
  1. Stay calm. Speak clearly. Emergency units (police, fire or ambulance) rely on the information you give to get to you as soon as possible and to be able to help you.
  2. Give your address and phone number. Many 911 systems automatically display your address, but most cellular phones do not. Your address is vital information.  We cannot help you if we don't know where you are.
  3. Quickly and briefly describe your problem. As soon as we know what you need, we will know who (police car, ambulance, fire truck) to send to help you. Get to the point as soon as possible.
  4. Describe yourself. Tell the 911 Call Taker where you are and what you look like, including what you are wearing. We want officers who are arriving on the scene to know who they can contact and that you are not the suspect.
  5. Listen to the 911. Call Taker. Answer their questions and follow any instructions. Remain on the line until the 911 Call Taker says it is okay for you to hang up.

Updated: 07/16/09; 8:54 am


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