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When you dial 911, your call is received by a dispatcher in the Police department who processes your call and determines what type of emergency you have. The priority of the call is determined according to the circumstances of the call and will be dispatched according to priority and available resources. As an added safety feature, the telephone number and location that you are calling from is usually displayed when the operator answers your call. This feature is not available from cellular telephones or operator assisted calls.
The operator will ask you to give the location of the emergency, even if a phone number and address are displayed when you call. This is necessary to verify the address and specific location of the emergency. Remain on the line with the operator until you are released, if possible. Your call is shipped to the dispatcher usually within seconds, and other information obtained from you is added to the call.
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In an emergency, seconds count. When police, fire, or medical emergencies occur, dialing 911 can help save precious time. It can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Many times callers think that response to their emergency will be delayed by remaining on the phone and giving information to the operator. This is not true. When the basic information has been entered into the dispatch computer, the call is routed to a dispatcher within seconds. By staying on the line you may aid the Police or Fire personnel who are responding to your call by keeping them updated with the latest information.
911 should be dialed when an Ambulance or Fire unit is needed, or for a Police emergency. A Police emergency is any situation involving a crime in progress, or an imminent threat to life, bodily injury, or major property damage or loss. An example of a police emergency would be a fight or assault in progress or a home or business burglary in progress.
Non-emergency calls placed to 911 can slow Police, Fire, and Ambulance response to true emergencies. To more efficiently handle calls, the Garland Police Department established a number to report non-emergency situations to the police. The non-emergency number is 972-485-4840.
A non-emergency incident is one that does not involve a crime in progress; does not pose an imminent threat to human life, major property damage or loss; and does not require the immediate dispatch of a Police unit. Examples are abandoned vehicles and barking dogs.