Cell Phone Users Can Register for Emergency Notifications
Thanks to a regional investment in a new software system, you can register your cell phone or voice-over IP (VoIP) systems to receive emergency notifications. Learn more (pdf) | Register phone at www.maricoparegion911.org/CENS.htm
About Reverse 911
Reverse 911 is a computer system that allows the Glendale Police and Fire Departments to contact homes and businesses with important information or instructions during emergency situations. Glendale Police has used notifications for incidents such as vulnerable missing children and adults, shootings, and HAZMAT incidents. The Reverse 911 system is funded by a homeland security grant for Maricopa County region agencies. When you receive a Reverse 911 call, it will show up on Caller ID as REVERSE 911 with a 480 area code because the phone bank for the system is located in Mesa. Each message will have the option of English or Spanish and will also repeat in TDD tones for the hearing impaired. The program also leaves voice mail messages for those who miss the call. Currently, Reverse 911 is only available to land line phones, but Maricopa County 911 hopes to have the ability to register cell phones to be able to receive these calls in the near future.
When to call 9-1-1
Call 9-1-1 to report any emergency--police, fire or medical. If you need help immediately, call 9-1-1. Don't waste time, call as soon as you think help is needed.
- Car crash with injury
- Someone is hurt, bleeding or having difficulty breathing
- Fire of any type (house, other building or car)
- When you see an crime occuring or in-progress
- Dangerous situation such as gas leak or a power line down
- Someone is drowning
When not to call 9-1-1
Do not call 911 if the problem is not an emergency, consult the phone book for the non-emergency number. If 911 is called for non-emergencies, service for someone with a real emergency may be delayed.
- Loud party or music
- Barking dogs or cats up in a tree
- To ask for general information or directions
- To report a power outage
- To check for severe weather reports
- Glendale non-emergency: 623-930-3000
What happens if I accidentally dial 911?
Misdials are sometimes experienced on 911. Often many misdials are realized after the number is dialed and the caller will immediately disconnect the line. This is what is commonly referred to as a "911 hangup". If a connection was made, regardless if the line was not answered by the 911 operator, the PSAP will still receive the call. It is very important to remain on the line, even if you realize you misdialed. If you disconnect the line, the 911 operator must process the call as an unknown emergency sending a police response until otherwise determined.
Before You Call 911 on a Cell Phone
When you call 911 in most parts of the country, emergency responders can find you -- even if you don't know where you are or can't communicate. That's because calling 911 from a landline (a telephone connected to the lines on the poles) makes a computer in the dispatch center show the number and address of the phone you're using.
Cell Phones Don't Work the Same
When you make a 911 call on a cell phone, you are sending signals through the air. The tower that picks up your phone's signal may be near, but it isn't enough to tell the dispatcher where to find you. It's like playing "Marco Polo" in the pool - blindfolded with just sound to guide you. The Federal Communications Commission has required that all wireless carriers be able to pinpoint your location for the 911 dispatchers, but the rule is coming in phases and there are plenty of exceptions.
Location, Location, Location
When you call 911 from a cell phone, there are two pieces of information the call-taker needs to know immediately:
- Tell the call-taker the address of the emergency and which city it’s in.
- Tell the call-taker what type of emergency you have.
Different emergency services use different dispatch centers. With the right information, the call-taker will transfer you to the right center.
Any Phone Will Do
Wireless carriers are required to complete 911 calls, even when the phone is not activated. Any phone that turns on and can receive a signal is capable of making a 911 call. The problem is if the phone you’re using isn’t activated, there isn’t a number assigned to it. That means if you’re disconnected from the dispatch center, you must call 911 back. They will not have a way to call you back.
Stay Calm and Be Clear
Call-takers are trained to get information from you. They have specific questions they are going to ask you to better assist with your call. Listen carefully, and answer as concisely as possible. These questions could include:
- The exact location of the emergency
- Your call back number in case they need to re-contact you
- Your name
- The nature of the emergency
- Description of actors/vehicles/weapons
You Can Help By:
- Learn the non-emergency telephone numbers to reach help in your area;
- Refrain from programming your phone to automatically dial 9-1-1 when one button is pressed;
- If your wireless phone came with a preprogrammed, auto-dial 9-1-1, disable it;
- Lock your keypad when your phone is not in use, to avoid accidental 9-1-1 calls.
Remember, responders can only respond if they know where they’re going. Make sure you get the location as detailed as possible. In 2011, the Glendale Police Communications Center handled a total of 554,000 calls with 151,320 being 911 calls which 77 percent of the 911 calls received came from cell phones. With simple advice, you can summon the help you need from your cell phone.