April national 911 education month

By: Dorothy Sherman

AUBURN, AL – Emergency communications is the important link  between the public and public safety, and at the Auburn 911 dispatch office that link comes in around 200 to 300 calls daily.

“We handled just around 150,000 phone calls last year 2013 and that’s both in bound calls and outbound,” , communications administrator, Adam Brown said.

In Auburn operators on duty take calls after a 911 call is made.  The operator asks the caller various questions to find the best means of help.

“That person talking to you on the phone is not also the person who is contacting the emergency responder. That action is being done simultaneously.  We enter all these answers to these questions into a computer rated dispatch system that everybody has access to and they are relaying this information to the different emergency responders so we can get there in a timely manner,” Brown said.

Emergency communications has changed greatly over the years. Especially with the rise of cell phones.

“All of the cell phone companies have been pushed to use their GPS technology so we can try to get responders there as soon as possible, based on the phone call,” Brown said.

Brown said one of the biggest misconceptions of emergency communication is that 911 is a national call center.

“A lot of people don’t realize is that just about every police jurisdiction has some sort of public safety answering point locally and they’re not sent out to a call center somewhere across the United States,” Brown said.

Brown said the calls are routed to a local answering point based on phone data bases.

Brown did share a few tips for calling 911.  Know your location, give detailed information to the operator, don’t hang up on a 911 call until the operator says its okay to disconnect, and if you accidentally call 911 stay on the line and let the operator know it was an accident.  Don’t worry, Brown said you’re not going to get in trouble.

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