When to Dial 911

Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center Public Education (F.A.Q.s)

What does 9-1-1 provide? The Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center provides 911 services for sixteen different cities, townships and villages throughout Montgomery County. Immediate assistance from Police, Fire or Emergency Medical Services can be obtained by dialing 911.

When should I call 9-1-1? An important consideration when accessing Public Safety services is understanding when to use 911. You should dial 911 in an EMERGENCY. An EMERGENCY is when immediate police, fire or Emergency Medical Services is necessary to protect life or property. If an emergency situation arises such as a fire, serious injury or illness, or a crime in progress, ask yourself whether assistance is needed right now. If YES, then dial 911 and advise the operator what is happening. If you are unsure as to the immediacy of the need, dial 911 and let the responder decide.

Example: If your car has been broken into, but the perpetrator is nowhere in sight, do not call 911; use the non-emergency number of (937) 225-4357. If you observe someone breaking into your car, call 911; there is immediate need for assistance to stop/catch the person.

What if I call 9-1-1 by accident? If you call 911 by accident, do not hang up. Stay on the line and tell the operator what happened. If you hang up, the police will be sent to your home to find out why you hung up and ensure everything is alright.

What if I speak limited English? Callers who need foreign language assistance are connected, within seconds, to a language interpreter service, where translators can handle more than 170 different languages. A 3-way conversation is placed until all information is collected.

Why doesn't the operator know where I am calling from? If you call 911 from a traditional landline phone the operator should be provided with information electronically about where you are calling from but will still have to verify. Some VOIP phones that use the internet do not provide any 911 location information to the call taker. Although the Regional Dispatch Center is Phase I and Phase II compliant, the 911 location information provided by different mobile phone carriers and mobile handsets is very limited and can vary depending on conditions such as the weather. Mobile phone location accuracy is never guaranteed, cannot tell us which floor of a building you are on, and may only display the tower that received the phone call which may be in a completely different jurisdiction. Always be prepared to give us your location including the city, township, or village that you are calling from and realize that many street names sound the same and that the exact same street name and block range often times exists in multiple jurisdictions. Calls to non-emergency lines never provide location information.

Why does the operator ask so many questions when I request an ambulance? All Regional Dispatch staff members are trained Emergency Medical Dispatchers. The RDC uses the Priority Dispatch Pro QA computer interface to interview callers so that the appropriate responders and equipment can be dispatched to assist with the emergency. While the call taker gathers information and provides pre-arrival and post-dispatch instructions to the caller so that care can be immediately provided, a fire dispatcher is notifying the closest EMS members of the emergency so that the can respond appropriately.

Can I send a text message or email instead of calling the dispatch center? Yes. The RDC's phone system is capable of receiving Texts to 9-1-1 if you are on the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon mobile networks. Unfortunately the FCC has not mandated that smaller regional mobile phone carriers have to provide Text to 9-1-1 service and none of the smaller carriers we contacted were able to provide the link to 9-1-1. At this point the RDC can only receive SMS messages but pictures and video may become available in the future when Ohio deploys a next generation 9-1-1 system. Although calling 9-1-1 will always be preferred, texting is important for those who are hearing or speech impaired and it may be safer to text if speaking to a call taker on 9-1-1 would reveal your location or intentions to a perpetrator. Text to 9-1-1 service is only available to the 16 municipalities directly served by the RDC and comes with the limitations of the current mobile phone 9-1-1 technology. If the message is delivered to a mobile phone tower that is not considered by the phone carrier to be the RDC's service area the message may be delivered to another dispatch center. If that dispatch center is not capable of receiving Text to 9-1-1 messages the user will get a return message that says you must call 9-1-1. Again, calling 9-1-1 is always preferable to texting during an emergency but if you must text please be prepared to give your exact address including the city, township, or village that you are calling from and the nature of the emergency. The non-emergency number of (937) 225-4357 is not text capable.

Email should never be used for emergencies, but anonymous crime tips and general questions should be directed to our report a crime website.

What is the best way to tell if there is a traffic problem along the route that I plan to travel? Check our traffic website at http://www.montgomery.miamivalleydispatch.org

If you or your organization would like to have more information on scheduling a 911 representative to speak on the correct usage of 911, please contact Captain Matt Haines at (937) 384-2451 or email HainesM@mcohiosheriff.org.