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911 FAQs and Tips

Emergency 9-1-1 calls for police, fire, and emergency medical services in the City of are handled through a consolidated dispatch center in the Village of Glenview. This consolidated public safety cooperative provides operational and financial efficiencies through economies of scale and maximization of resources.

When calling 9-1-1 it is important to:

  • Remain calm, and listen to the questions asked by the Telecommunicator
  • Know your address and the location of your emergency. If you do not know the specific address, be sure to note the city or town you are in, major intersections or landmarks. Try your best to be specific.
  • Don’t hang up until the Telecommunicator is ready to disconnect the call.

Why am I asked for my location when I call 911? Doesn’t the 911 center know where I am?
Unless you are calling 911 from your home phone, there is a good chance the 911 center doesn’t have your exact location. Although you can order a pizza or a car service from your smartphone and have great success with them knowing where you are and their ability to find you, the 911 technology currently in place is lacking good dependable location information and cell providers are years from improving this. Therefore when answering a call, the Telecommunicator will ask the location where the incident is occurring, including the name of the town you are calling from. It is very important to know where you are and/or where the incident is occurring. If you do not know the exact street address, the next best location is the closest intersection. This information is needed on all 911 calls but especially wireless calls as there is no guarantee your initial wireless 911 call will route to the correct 911 center.    

Why am I asked so many questions by the 911 Telecommunicator? Doesn’t this delay the response to my emergency?
The Telecommunicator may ask you questions that you believe are irrelevant. Trust in the Telecommunicator’s training and experience, and they will guide you to provide the information needed by the police and fire departments to get you the quickest and most helpful response. There are multiple Telecommunicators working in the 911 center, and while you are being asked questions by one, someone else reading the information on a computer screen is actually dispatching the police and/or fire units based on the information you are providing.

 Does my community have 311 service for non-emergency calls?
All non-emergency matters should be directed to the 10-digit non-emergency telephone numbers (see below), as 311 is only available in some locations, such as the City of Chicago and the City of Evanston.  

 Why does the 911 Telecommunicator want me to stay on the phone when I misdial or change my mind about dialing 911?
Never just hang up.  You may have called 911 by accident, or your situation may have resolved itself, but it is important to let the 911 Telecommunicator know this. If you end the call abruptly, the Telecommunicators at the 911 center are going to assume that something has gone wrong and will either call you back or send help anyway. Some communities require the dispatch of police officers on any hang-up calls. This will take away from the 911 center’s ability to take calls and dispatch services to on-going emergencies, so make sure the 911 call taker tells you it is OK to disconnect before you hang up. And keep in mind that the call taker can dispatch responders to your location without disconnecting from the call, so, until you are instructed to do otherwise, make sure to hold the line so that you can provide any necessary information or assistance to the 911 operator.

Is my 911 call answered by someone working in my community?
The responders who come to assist you are most likely from your community, but your 911 call is answered in a consolidated 911 dispatch center by trained professionals working outside of your community. Each 911 Telecommunicator receives in-depth classroom and hands-on training over an approximate 16-week training program. This training also includes geographic awareness and ride-alongs with those who serve your community to learn the area. In addition, all 911 Telecommunicators have access to highly detailed mapping technologies. 

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