How to help us
In Farmington the Communications Division dispatches responders for Fire, Medical, or Police emergencies. When you call 9-1-1 the most important thing we need to know is your location. In fact, when we answer 9-1-1 we ask “9-1-1, what is the location of your emergency?” before we get any other information. In this way, if we were to get cut off or unable to get any other details about what is going on, at the very least we can send a response to check the location of your call.
The most difficult calls to handle on 9-1-1 are those from callers that assume they know what the Public Safety Dispatcher needs to know and blurt that information out in an unorganized manner. The best callers to 9-1-1 are those that can listen to the questions that the dispatcher is asking them and provide brief and clear answers to those questions. The dispatchers are trained to ask questions that will locate and prioritize an incident.
Many callers think that they need to give out the information quickly and then hang up so the dispatcher can send help. But often, after collecting a certain amount of basic information, responders can be dispatched while the caller is still on the phone providing updated information. In the case of medical calls we may be able to provide life saving instructions to the caller after responders have been dispatched. Therefore it is important to patiently listen to the instructions the dispatcher is giving you.
When to call 9-1-1
The adage for 9-1-1 is “Dial 9-1-1 To Stop a Crime, To Report a Fire, To Save a Life”. Please use 9-1-1 only for emergencies. Every police department has a 10-digit non-emergency number available (in Farmington, the non-emergency number is 860-675-2400). By using the non-emergency number properly, the 9-1-1 lines are left free for emergency callers to get through when they need to. And don’t call 9-1-1 for non-emergency information like directions, phone numbers, or to find out what time the parade is starting.
If you dial 9-1-1 accidentally, don’t just hang up without talking to the dispatcher. They will have to call the number back to check that there is no emergency, and may require a response from the police if they can’t reach you. Simply stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake.
Hopefully you won’t ever have to call 9-1-1. If you do have to report an emergency, we hope that by knowing a little more about how 9-1-1 works and the kind of information we need, you can assist us to send out help in an efficient manner.