STRATFORD, Conn. – April is National 911 Education Month, and the National 911 Education Coalition and the Town of Stratford encourages public safety officials, schools and government officials to engage in this national effort to educate the public about the importance and appropriate use of 911 services.
Here are some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” to keep in mind when using the 911 system, from JP Sredzinski, Stratford's Public Safety Dispatch Supervisor:
DO dial 911 only for an emergency. An emergency is any serious medical problem, hazard or any life-threatening situation. You are also urged to call 911 to report crimes that are in progress, whether or not a life is threatened.
DO stay on the line when asked to hold by a 911 operator. If you hang up, your call will be delayed because your call will automatically be placed at the end of the other callers.
DO let the dispatcher ask you questions. The dispatchers have been trained to ask questions that will help prioritize the incident, locate it and send an appropriate response.
DO be prepared to describe the location of your emergency. Although an Enhanced 911 system will display the telephone number and location, the dispatcher must confirm the location or ask for more specific information.
DO NOT dial 911 for a non-emergency. Instead, dial the Stratford non-emergency number at 203-385-4100. Examples of non-emergencies are property damage accident, theft of property when the suspect is gone or vandalism.
DO NOT hang up the telephone if the 911 call rings multiple times. Stay on the line until you hear someone pick up.
DO NOT program 911 into auto-dial. Programming the number invites accidental dialing. If you must test the phone, call the non-emergency line at 203-385-4100 and ask for permission.
If you dialed 911 in error, DO NOT hang up. Stay on the line and explain to the dispatcher that you dialed by mistake and that you do not have an emergency. If you hang up, a police officer must be dispatched to confirm that you are OK.
DO NOT hang up until the dispatcher tells you to. Follow any instructions the dispatcher gives you.