‘WHY DOES THE 911 OPERATOR ASK SO MANY QUESTIONS? IF I CALL WITH AN EMERGENCY, TIME IS CRUCIAL. ISN’T THE OPERATOR WASTING TIME BY ASKING FOR SO MUCH INFORMATION?
911 operators are trained to ask specific questions to determine the most appropriate response by public safety officers. Normally your call is taken by a call-taker who enters the information you give them into a computer system. That information is then automatically sent to the dispatcher who usually dispatches help to you before you ever hang-up with the operator.
WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO ME AND I CAN’T SPEAK? HOW CAN 911 HELP ME?
When you dial 911 from a traditional telephone, one that is wired into a house or other building, the location from which you are calling is displayed on a computer screen in front of the 911 operators. If you cannot speak, you are ill, or are being kept from talking by an intruder, leave the telephone off the hook. Any noise that we can hear will help us determine the most appropriate response. In cases of domestic violence, the victim often leaves the telephone off the hook and the call-taker is able to determine the nature of the situation quickly and send the appropriate law enforcement response.
I HAVE A HEARING IMPAIRMENT AND CANNOT COMMUNICATE OVER A REGULAR TELEPHONE LINE. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I NEED HELP IN AN EMERGENCY?
Cook County 911 operators are trained in the use of a TDD/TTY. It is not necessary to dial a separate number for TTD/TTY calls or to place these calls through a relay service. If you need help, simply dial 911. The telephone system will recognize a TTD/TTY call and your call will be handled as quickly and efficiently as calls placed by non-impaired callers.
CAN I CALL 911 FROM MY CELLULAR?
Yes. Keep in mind that wireless calls sometimes present special problems for 911 centers and callers. Calls from wireless phones are answered by the 911 center closest to the cellular tower that the call is routed through. For example, a call placed to 911 from Cook County might be answered by another county because the cell tower that the caller is closest to is actually in that county. Be aware of this possibility when placing cellular 911 calls. Your call may take a few extra minutes to be routed to the corrected agency.
Something else to remember about wireless 911 calls is that your location is not automatically displayed like it is from calls placed by traditional phones. Cellular technology does not yet provide for your location to be pinpointed by the 911 systems. If you are not familiar with your exact location, it is crucial that you give as much information about your surroundings as possible If you have access to a traditional telephone in an emergency, use it. Although wireless telephone providers, the FCC, and 9-1-1 organizations are working together, we are still a few years away from making cellular 911 as effective as traditional 911 services.
WHY AM I CHARGED A 911 SUBSCRIBER FEE ON MY TELEPHONE BILL?
911 subscriber fees support the entire operation of your 911 systems, from salaries to training and equipment. Without the 911-subscriber fee, we could not continue to provide 911 services.