Frequently Asked Questions
- What is 911?
- Why was the number 911 selected?
- When do I call 911?
- Should I call 911 any time I need to reach the Police Department, Fire Department, or EMS?
- How do I reach these other departments for non-emergency issues?
- Can anyone who works at 911 can find out my phone number or address?
- Does this mean I can just dial 911 and say (for example), "I have a fire", and hang up?
- What do I say when I call 911?
- What is 911?Top
9-1-1 (pronounced Nine-One-One) is a three-digit phone number set aside for use to report emergencies throughout the United States. While 911 is not
available everywhere, it is hoped that in the near future you could go anywhere in the United States, and by dialing 911 will reach the correct agency
when you have an emergency, without having to look up a phone number.
- Why was the number 911 selected?Top
The number selected to be used on a nationwide basis could not be one that was being used as an area code or the first three digits of a phone number,
and needed to be easy to remember. Numbers for special services offered by the phone companies were three digit numbers (411, 611, etc).
- When do I call 911?Top
Not every single type of situation could be listed here, but whenever you have an emergency or problem that requires immediate assistance from Law
Enforcement Agencies, Fire Departments, or Emergency Medical Services, then you should dial 911. If you or another person is in danger or in possible
danger, then you should call.
- Should I call 911 any time I need to reach the Police Department, Fire Department, or EMS? Top
NO! Business related calls, asking for information, needing to speak with a member of one of these departments, checking on when you have to appear in
court, asking where to pay traffic fines, questions about an EMS bill are examples of people who have abused the 911 service in other areas. This is not
only just a distraction, it can interfere with the 911 personnel trying to quickly answer and help people who have an emergency.
- How do I reach these other departments for non-emergency issues?Top
You need to look up the number in the white pages of your telephone directory, under the name of your city or county. The numbers listed on the inside
cover of your phone books are Emergency Numbers. You may also click here for a directory of
contacts for Whitfield County.
- Can anyone who works at 911 can find out my phone number or address?Top
NO! The phone number and address information is stored in computers that remain under the control of Windstream. We will not see your
phone number or address unless YOU dial 911. In that case, you are telling us you want us to know where you are because you need help.
- Does this mean I can just dial 911 and say (for example), "I have a fire", and hang up?Top
While this would certainly get a fire truck to your location, it is not in your best interests, or ours. Personnel answering 911 need other information
as well as ask where you are located. We never rely on the displayed information totally unless that is all we have to go on. Other information is vital
and must be relayed by the 911 personnel to the Police, Sheriff, Fire, or EMS units so they can be prepared to handle your emergency immediately upon
their arrival. Never place yourself in more danger by staying on the phone when you can't. If the flames are racing across the house you're in...then,
YES! GET OUT! Descriptions of suspects in law enforcement cases are critical. The responding police officer just might pass a person or vehicle, but
won't know it is the suspect until they get to you, unless you help us out by giving a description.
- What do I say when I call 911?Top
Tell the person answering briefly what is wrong. Briefly is the key word! "My house is on fire, or I hear someone sneaking around my house, or I'm
having chest pains" are brief descriptions. At that point the person answering your call will start asking questions. To a person who is upset, this
becomes extremely frustrating, because they are not aware that most of the time another person is already sending help to you. The additional
information that you are being asked for is provided to the police, fire or EMS personnel by radio. Your call for help is not being delayed.
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