Assessing the Situation

The emergency communications officer will ask if your emergency is related to Police, Fire or Rescue. At this point you should give a quick description of what occurred. Then you will be asked a series of questions which are extremely important to the proper handling of the call.

The Questions May Include

  • Did the suspect flee, and if so, which direction?
  • How long ago did the incident occur?
  • Is anyone injured?
  • If a vehicle was involved, what was the description and what was the direction of travel?
  • Were there weapons involved and if so, what type?
  • What was the clothing description?
  • What was the mode of transportation, a car, bike or on foot?
  • What was the physical description of the suspect?
Although these may seem like an unreasonable number of questions during an emergency, they are very important to emergency personnel. For example, if a burglary has just occurred and the suspect flees, the officers have a much better chance of apprehending the suspect if they have a good description of the suspect and the direction that was taken. More important, if the incident in question involved a weapon, the life of the Officer may depend on the information given.

Emergency Communications Team

One common misconception of Public Safety Communications is that emergency communications officers wait until finishing the call before sending help. During a true emergency, the emergency communications officers work as a team. One remains on the line with the caller and passes on information to another emergency communications officer, who dispatches Police Officers, Firefighters or other emergency personnel.

It is very important that you stay on the line during a call to 911. The emergency communications officer will continue to ask you questions while the police are en route.