301 W. Franklin Street
Taylorville, IL 62568
CALL 911 FOR EMERGENCY
FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK VOL 1, NUMBER 6
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
FIRST, AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
This is wonderful news! The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that the April 30th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day brought in 188 TONS of these unwanted or expired medications. That’s 376,593 pounds, which were collected in the 5,361 Take-Back sites in the country. Christian County participants brought in 57.5 pounds of these drugs. The national total for the first 2 Take-Back Days, this April and last September, has now reached 309 tons. Thanks to all of you for your participation.
SOME IMPORTANT POINTS ABOUT ONE OF OUR MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTIONS:
The subject I refer to is the 9-1-1 Emergency call. The idea has been extremely effective. If you need emergency help, just dial 9-1-1, and help will soon be on the way. Your call goes to a Public Safety Answering Point, or PSAP. This is where the dispatcher picks up your call and determines what needs to be done. In our area, the PSAP is our County Sheriff’s office.
The volume of 9-1-1 calls is extremely high. Our office received a grand total of all calls totaling 19,003 in the year of 2010. Of these, 57%, or 10,884, are 9-1-1 calls that’s almost 1,000 per month that our dispatchers process and handle.
The availability of the 9-1-1 program covers the whole country. In fact, over 98% of America’s 308 million people have some version of 9-1-1 available to them. We make more than 240 million of these calls per year.
These are emergency calls, intended to obtain police, fire, or medical help. There are some surprises however. A couple of weeks ago, a most unusual 9-1-1 call happened in Georgia.
Someone unknowingly "pocket dialed" 9-1-1 on his cell phone, and when the dispatcher answered, he realized the caller was not there. But the dispatcher was able to hear conversation going on. As he listened, he realized the conversation was about a drug deal. A sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the place the 9-1-1 system identified as the source of the call. The Deputy soon tracked down the "caller" and found illegal drugs in his possession and arrested him. So 9-1-1 calls can even fight crime!
The rules for making a 9-1-1 call are simple.
9-1-1 should ONLY be used in emergency situations. Emergency is the key word here. It means any situation that calls for immediate emergency assistance from police/sheriff, the fire department, or emergency medical help. If you see a very bad auto accident, that would qualify. A fender-bender doesn’t. For the fender-bender, just call the local Sheriff’s office or police department to report it.
But what if you’re not sure whether you should make a 9-1-1 call? Then go ahead and make it and explain the situation. The dispatcher will evaluate the facts with your help and decide what course of action should be taken.
If you should happen to call 9-1-1 by mistake, DON’T HANG UP. The PSAP where your call surfaces assumes any call is an emergency or potential emergency. If you hang up, they will try to reconnect with you, since they don’t know if the call was actually hung up, or the caller had some difficulty in continuing the call.
Stay on the line and explain the situation, so they won’t continue trying to reestablish the call. During a 9-1-1 call, do not hang up when you think the dispatcher is through. When they have the information they need, they will tell you to hang up.
Give the dispatcher as much information as possible. If you are calling about something that has occurred out in the area, note whatever street names or buildings are prominent. This is especially important since your call may be being handled by a call center that is not the one that services the area you’re in.
Make sure you talk to your family members about the points listed above. There’s really nothing difficult about making a 9-1-1 call, but everyone should review the procedure at least once a year to know what they should and should not do.
Be sure you teach any children of appropriate age in your family how to make the calls. There are a large number of calls every year made by alert youngsters with surprisingly happy conclusions.
The 9-1-1 system is built to work with a high degree of accuracy. And that is true when the calls are made on a house phone. Cell phones and the relatively new Voice over Internet systems have different operating systems, which result in changes from the normal response. The calls will go through, but the dispatcher may not have the usual information available on his screen.
To learn what differences to expect with cell phones or Voice on Internet phones and how to deal with them, consult your owner manual or contact the manufacturer’s customer service people.
Calls for Service – Year To Date: 373
Department Activity for the first 5 months of the year: