You will be asked a series of questions, which are extremely important to the proper handling of the call. These may include:
- Is anyone injured?
- How long ago did the incident occur?
- Were there weapons involved and if so, what type?
- Did the suspect flee, and if so, which direction?
- What was the mode of transportation, a car, bike or on foot?
- If a vehicle was involved, what was the description and what was the direction of travel?
- What was the physical description of the suspect?
- What was the clothing description?
Although these may seem like an unreasonable number of questions during an emergency, they are very important to emergency personnel. For example, if a burglary has just occurred and the suspect flees, the officers have a much better chance of apprehending the suspect if they have a good description of the suspect and the direction that was taken. More important, if the incident in question involved a weapon, the life of the Officer may depend on the information given.
One common misconception of Public Safety Communications is that Emergency Communication Officers (ECO) wait until finishing the call before sending help. During a true emergency, the ECO’s work as a team. One remains on the line with the caller and enters the information to another ECO, who dispatches Police Officers, Firefighters or other emergency personnel. It is very important that you stay on the line during a call to 911. The Emergency Communications Officer will continue to ask you questions while the police are en route.