(ATLANTIC) Everyone knows that 9-1-1 is a universal number that should be called in the event of an emergency...or do they? 9-1-1 Centers all over the United States have encountered hurdles when educating the public when it comes to the 9-1-1 and its uses. That’s why the Cass County 911 Center is urging all educational organizations, parents, and caregivers to assist with the “9-1-1 Education Challenge” during the month of April as part of National 9-1-1 Education Month.
“9-1-1 is traditionally used to summon Fire, Law Enforcement or EMS personnel to an emergency or any type of event that is a threat to either life or property; it is not to be used just to summon a law enforcement officials to something minor or something that is really a non-emergency type of situation,” explained Rob Koppert, Cass County 9-1-1 Director.
Koppert said with the advances in technology, 9-1-1 has become much more complex. In 2011, the Cass County 911 Center received approximately 6,000 9-1-1 calls, of which 80-percent were from wireless phones. This is on top of the 26,000-plus administrative calls answered by the Cass County 911 Center.
“One of the problems with wireless phones is call clarity. I’m sure people remember having the wired phones, the calls were always nice crispy and clear, you could understand each other, there weren’t any cutouts or drop offs; unfortunately we get that with the cellular phones and we get that too when you call 9-1-1,” said Koppert. “So, speak calmly, collected, clear, answer all the dispatchers questions, and know your location because of those wireless 9-1-1 calls that we get, about half of them don’t automatically show the location, especially if the phone call originated from inside a building, so if you can, know your location.”
In addition to April being National 9-1-1 Education Month, the week of April 8th through 14th in National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week in the United States.