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Call Taking Process

What to Expect When Calling 9-1-1 from a Landline or Cellular Phone:

It is important to note the following information when calling 9-1-1 using a landline phone versus a cellular phone:

When calling 9-1-1 from a landline, the address and phone number where callers are calling from ARE captured and displayed to the call-taker unless the residence or building is a new construction. However, the call-taker must verify the accuracy of the information and ensure emergency responders are dispatched to the correct location.

When calling 9-1-1 from a cellular phone, the address where callers are calling from ARE NOT captured and displayed to the call-taker. Only the nearest cellular tower and cellular phone number are displayed. Callers must always be prepared to provide as much information about the location of the emergency as possible.

What to Expect When Reporting an Emergency:

When calling 9-1-1 to report a law enforcement, fire or medical emergency, a professional call-taker will answer your call and ask a series of structured questions. Let the call-taker guide the conversation as it allows the call-taker to quickly enter the information into the computer aided dispatch (CAD) system while a dispatcher begins the process of sending the appropriate emergency responders.

The following entry questions are asked for each 9-1-1 call:

  1. "9-1-1, What's the address of your emergency?"

Know the address and name of the location where the emergency is. If the address is unknown, know the cross streets or as much information about the location as possible. Include names of subdivisions, apartment complexes, businesses and other buildings.

  1. "Repeat the address for verification."

The call-taker must verify the accuracy of the information and ensure that the closest emergency responders are dispatched. Repeat the address.

  1. "What city?"

It is important to ask this question as duplicate addresses exists in several cities within Alachua County and again, it helps us to determine and dispatch the closest emergency responders. State the name of the city where the address of the emergency is located.

  1. "What's the phone number that you're calling from beginning with the area code first?"

Provide the phone number that you're calling from beginning with the area code in case we lose contact or should need to call you back for additional information.

  1. "Repeat the phone number for verification."

Again, the call-taker must verify the accuracy of the information.

  1. "What's the problem, tell me exactly what happened?"

Briefly state the reason for the call as we want to ensure a prompt and efficient response while ensuring the safety of the citizens and emergency responders. Examples of how to report emergencies are listed below. Notice that each incident is described using less than 10 words.

"My mother is having chest pains".
"Someone has been shot."
"I'm involved in a vehicle accident."
"A man is lying in the street."
"A house or building is on fire."
"A man is climbing in my neighbor's window."
"I hear a woman screaming."
"My bank has been robbed."

The call taker will then guide you through a questioning sequence to ensure all pertinent information is gathered and quickly disseminated to the units in the field. Please allow them to lead you through this process.

  1. "Okay, just to confirm, we have EMS (or whatever emergency responder requested) on its way to (the call-taker will state the address provided). Is this correct?"

Before disconnecting, the call-taker will provide a final verbal verification of the address to ensure accuracy of information and clarify any ambiguity that may result from letters or numbers that sounds alike. It is important that you listen carefully to this final read back of your information. The call taker is looking at maps, address and phone number displays , typing while they are listening to you, capturing your information and condensing it into a narrative that the dispatcher can quickly broadcast over the radio to the responding unit, all while trying to ensure your address is correct. This is the reason you are asked several times to verify your information and that we take a final opportunity to be sure we are sending the resource where it is needed.

If you are calling from a safe location and require law enforcement services only, depending on the specific nature of the incident, be prepared to remain on the phone to answer questions regarding weapon(s), injuries, name(s), race, sex, age, height, weight, identifying scars, clothing description, vehicle description( color, make, model, license plate), direction of travel, mode of travel, and time lapse of person(s) involved. The more information is known from the onset increases law enforcement chances of apprehending perpetrators.

For calls for service that requires fire rescue and medical emergencies and if calling from a safe location, be prepared to remain on the phone to answer questions regarding the patient(s) age, sex, status of consciousness and status of breathing. Depending on the specific nature of the incident, additional key questions are asked to provide emergency responders more detailed information relevant to the safety and patient issues. Therefore, it is imperative that these questions are asked. Next, the call-taker will provide pre-arrival instructions and/or directions until the emergency responders arrive.

During emergency calls, it is important to remember emergency responders are dispatched immediately after the location and nature of the call are provided. Callers may be requested to remain on the phone to obtain further details and maintain a current status of the situation for the safety of the caller and emergency responders. However, staying on the line DOES NOT delay response or interfere with the call-taker's ability to dispatch help.

Should I Hang Up if I Can't or Don't Want to Answer the Questions?

Unless there are personal safety concerns, answer the questions to the best of your ability. DO NOT hang up until instructed by the call-taker. Valuable time is wasted on call backs to obtain additional information. Follow the call-taker's instructions or ask questions to ensure understanding of information or any instructions.

For lower priority, non-emergency calls, the Call Taker will obtain all the necessary information prior to sending the call to be dispatched. Non-emergency calls are made by dialing 352-955-1818.


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