WHAT IS 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is an emergency number anyone can dial on any phone in a serious or life-threatening emergency to be connected with law enforcement, fire, medical and ambulance services. A 9-1-1 call is free from all phones, including pay phones.
When you call 9-1-1, a professionally trained dispatcher answers. The dispatcher will ask for the location of your emergency, what the emergency is and will dispatch the appropriate help.
Call 9-1-1 For Serious Emergencies
Emergencies include a crime that is in progress or about to happen, and crimes that have resulted in serious physical injury, property damage or property loss. By calling 9-1-1 you will be directed to the appropriate law enforcement, fire and medical services. When reporting a crime or incident that does not justify dialing 9-1-1, call your local law enforcement agency. Within the un-incorporated areas of Kern County, dial (661)861-3110, or 1-800-861-3110.
Examples of 9-1-1 emergencies:
- In Progress fights, sexual assaults, etc.
- Burglaries and robberies
- Child/elder abuse
- Medical conditions, such as a possible heart attack, injuries from a fall, bleeding that cannot be stopped.
- A person who is missing and requires special care; needs medication, or has Alzheimer’s disease, etc.
- Sounds of gunshots, screaming, barking dogs, explosions, breaking glass, alarms, etc.
- Vandalism in progress.
- Possible or actual kidnappings
- You witnessed a car being stolen.
- Hit and run accidents
Examples of non- emergency calls:
- Burglaries to a home or business in which the suspect has already left the scene.
- Open or broken doors or windows to a business or residence, especially if the business is closed or the residents are away.
- Stolen checks or credit cards.
- Loud parties.
- Minors violating curfew.
- Auto theft with no suspect information.
- Runaway juveniles or missing persons who do not need special care.
- Disturbing the peace, i.e., loitering, panhandling, noise making, and harassing others.
- Soliciting without a license.
- Suspicious subjects loitering near schools or parks, or looking into parked vehicles.
- Subjects drunk in public, but not in immediate danger.
- Subjects exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms, but do not appear to be a danger to themselves or others.
What happens when I call?
When you dial 9-1-1 from a regular (landline) phone in California, the dispatcher will, in most cases, receive the address and phone number you are calling from on their computer. The dispatcher will ask for the location, in case you are calling from a location different than that of the emergency. The dispatcher can begin to send help while you are still answering questions, so stay on the phone and remain calm. This will help the dispatcher to best help you.
If a crime has taken place, you can help deputies by remembering what the suspects looked like. The dispatcher will ask if the suspect was male or female, and the age and race; the color and type of clothing they were wearing; whether they had any scars, tattoos or piercing; and the color, make, and model of the suspects car or truck, including the license plate number or any part of it. The dispatcher will also ask if you saw the suspect carrying or using any weapons. Let the dispatcher know of any other information you might know about the suspect that could be helpful.
Wireless / VOIP 9-1-1 calls:
When you dial 9-1-1 from a wireless phone in California, the dispatcher will not receive the exact address you are calling from. They will receive an “estimated” location based on the signal from your wireless phone. It is important to stay on the phone and tell the dispatcher where the emergency is occurring. The dispatcher may not be able to send help until an exact location is determined.
When you dial 9-1-1 from a Digital or VOIP (internet based) device, the dispatcher may receive an incorrect address, or may not receive an address at all. It is important to stay on the phone and tell the dispatcher
where the emergency is occurring.
Speech or Hearing impaired
If you use a text telephone (TDD, TTY), make sure you know the correct way to dial 9-1-1 on your machine. After dialing 9-1-1, tap several letter keys (or the space bar) on the keyboard then wait several moments. Repeat this procedure until the dispatcher answers. There may be a short delay while a text telephone is added to the call. Do not hang up. When the dispatcher answers, type your address and the kind of emergency.
If you do not have access to a text telephone or no hearing person available to call, dial 9-1-1 and leave the phone off the hook. If you can talk, say your problem over and over, or make frantic sounds. In most cases, the dispatcher will see your location on the viewing screen and send help.
In California the 9-1-1 dispatcher is able to add translators who speak Cantonese, Spanish and Vietnamese to the call. In some areas of the state, translators may also be available for other languages.
If you speak limited English or none at all, tell the dispatcher that there is an emergency and which language you speak. For example, say, "Emergency. I speak Spanish." There may be a short delay while the dispatcher connects the caller with a translator. Do not hang up.
If your language is not translated, stay on the line and explain the emergency as best as you can. The dispatcher will see the address of the phone on the viewing screen and send help.
Learning how to say a few English words, such as "Emergency," "Fire," "Police," "Ambulance," "I live at [your address]" and "I speak [your native language]," could save your life or the life of someone you care about.
Teach your children to dial 9-1-1 properly:
Make sure your children understand that they should call 9-1-1 when something very serious is happening and an adult is not able to take care of the situation.
Tips to remember:
• Never say “nine eleven”. There is no eleven on a telephone keypad or dial. Always say “nine-one-one”.
• Get to a safe place before calling. If there is a fire, get out first.
• Post your address near the phone.
• 9-1-1 is never to be used for a prank or joke. You can get in trouble or keep someone who really needs help from getting it in time.
If you call 9-1-1 accidentally, stay on the line and let the dispatcher know it was a misdial. It is the policy of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office to send a deputy to check a residence from which a 9-1-1 call was placed, and no contact was made with the caller.