911 is a nationally recognized emergency number to contact police, fire or ambulance services. It provides an easy number for people to call when they have an emergency to report or need emergency assistance. (Check to make sure 911 is available in your area). When talking about 911 or teaching your children about 911, make sure you pronounce the numbers individually; nine – one – one. Some people refer to it as 9-11 (nine-eleven) and it becomes confusing to children when there is not an eleven on the phone dial.
What is enhanced 9-1-1?
Enhanced 9-1-1, or E9-1-1, is a system which routes an emergency call to the appropriate 9-1-1 center, AND automatically displays the caller's phone number and address. The 9-1-1 call taker will typically ask the caller to verify this information, which appears on his or her computer screen. In Santa Rosa County, all 9-1-1 calls are routed to the Santa Rosa County Emergency Management Communications Center, except calls placed within the City of Gulf Breeze. At both of these agencies, you will be asked what type of assistance you need in order to direct you to the appropriate personnel.
Where does 9-1-1 get funding from?
Each household or business pays a monthly fee of $.50 for 9-1-1 service on each telephone line that appears on their phone bill. There is no per-call charge for calling 9-1-1.
When should I call 911?
Nine-one-one is only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency you should call 9-1-1. It's better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.
If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the call taker what happened so they know there really isn't an emergency.
What if I want to test my 9-1-1 service or show my child how to use 9-1-1?
It is not uncommon for people to test their phone by calling 9-1-1 or teach their child how to dial 9-1-1 by having them actually call and speak to the dispatcher. While we certainly do not want to discourage anyone from using the 9-1-1 system, these types of non-emergency calls can delay service to emergencies.
If you would like to test your phone for 9-1-1 service or show someone how to properly dial 9-1-1, please contact the center using the non-emergency number and advise them of your intentions. If they are not busy, they will gladly assist you.
9-1-1 caller doesn't speak English?
When receiving a 9-1-1 call from a caller speaking a foreign language, the call taker can add an interpreter from an outside service to the line. A non-English speaking caller may hear a short conversation in English and some clicking sounds as the interpreter is added to the line. The interpreter will be speaking to the caller as an extension of the 9-1-1 call taker and will repeat exactly what is said between the parties.
What if a 9-1-1 caller is Deaf, or hearing/speech impaired?
Santa Rosa County has the ability to answer 9-1-1 calls using special telephone software for responding to 9-1-1 calls from Deaf or hearing/speech impaired callers.
- If a caller uses a TTY/TDD, the caller should:
- Stay calm, place the phone receiver in the TTY, dial 9-1-1.
- After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times. This may help shorten the time necessary to respond to the call.
- Give the call taker time to connect their TTY. If necessary, press the TTY keys again.
- You should be asked what service is needed-police, fire department, or ambulance. Give your name, phone number and the address where help is needed.
- Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the call taker's questions.
If a Deaf or hearing/speech impaired caller doesn't have a TTY/TDD, the caller should call 9-1-1 and don't hang up. Not hanging up leaves the line open. With most 9-1-1 calls, the caller's address is displayed on the call taker's screen and help will be sent.