The Chatham-Kent Police Service Emergency Communication Centre operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Emergency Communication Operators are responsible for answering all 9-1-1 telephone calls for Chatham-Kent as well as the dispatching of Chatham-Kent Police and Chatham-Kent Fire Services. On an average month, the Chatham-Kent 9-1-1/Police/Fire dispatch answers over 2,200 9-1-1 calls.
We will answer or make about 21,000 telephone calls, including just over 500 fire calls per month. On an average month, Police will be dispatched to about 3,800 events.
What to Expect
Calls on 911 are answered: “Chatham-Kent 911, What is your emergency?” Although it may be difficult, try to remain calm and describe your situation as best you can. The 911 operator will assist you in identifying which agency will best serve your emergency needs. Chatham-Kent 911 dispatches for both Police and Fire and can immediately handle your call. Ambulances are dispatched through another office and your call will be transferred. As a result, if you require an ambulance other than in Chatham-Kent area your call must be transferred directly to those agencies. You are not being put on hold. You may hear a click and the line may sound temporarily silent, but remain on the line. It will ring again and your call will be quickly answered by the agency directly responsible for dispatching the assistance that you require.
Your call may also be transferred if the police response you require is within the jurisdiction of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). This generally involves accidents and traffic complaints on the provincial highways in the region, any calls to Moraviantown or Walpole Island, and to any areas outside the boundaries of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
If your call requires the Chatham-Kent Police Service or Fire Service response, the call taker who answers your 911 call will take your information. As best as you are able, try to remain calm and try to answer the questions put to you by the call taker. Most times officers are already being dispatched and on the way to the scene while additional questions are being asked.
During the urgency of the situation some of the questions put to you may seem unimportant or irrelevant. The information gathered by the call taker is vital to the safety of the officers responding as well as any people they encounter at the scene of the incident. During the height of an emergency it may appear that asking for a date of birth is time consuming and irrelevant but in fact, most all data bases require a date of birth to process information. With this information officers can determine who they are about to encounter and what previous history may exist. You may also be asked if alcohol is being consumed. Again, while it may seem trivial or unimportant, officers need to know, as alcohol may be a factor as it can seriously impair and alter a person’s actions. Most times officers are already dispatched and on the way to the scene while additional questions are being asked.
When to Use It
The 911 emergency number often becomes a person’s lifeline for urgent assistance and should be used to stop a crime that’s in progress or about to occur or any situation where serious injury can occur.. 911 should also be used in situations where fire fighting apparatus or an ambulance is required.
The 911 service should not be used to report an incident after the fact. Instead, regular police phone lines should be used. Returning home to find that your residence has been broken into or noticing in the morning that your car has been stolen are very traumatic incidents and we understand the various emotions you may be experiencing. We can appreciate the urgency of your situation but from a reporting standpoint these types of incidents should be called in on a regular complaint line. Parking, traffic, public utility and noise complaints should all be reported on regular police lines as well. 911 should never be used for road conditions, directions, time checks or as a source of information for telephone numbers.
Police (519) 352-1234
Fire (519) 352-1100
Your call to 911 will normally automatically display your name, phone number, and address on a computer in front of the call taker. In most cases you will still be asked this information to confirm that the computer display is accurate. Also, there are times that the address where emergency response is required will be different from the address you are calling from.
If, for a variety of reasons, the call you make gets disconnected prior to the information being displayed on computer screens, the name, address and phone number information may still be obtained by tracing the call through the Bell Canada 911 Control Centre in Toronto.
Calling 911 in Error
There will be times when you may accidentally dial into 911. It is important that you remain on the line and let the call taker know that you called in error. Should you hang up without saying anything, 911 personnel have the capability of ringing your phone back immediately. Failure to pick up the line or continually hanging it up will result in officers being dispatched to your residence to check on the well being of all present.
Misuse of 911 In addition to risking the safety of people who may need emergency assistance, the deliberate misuse of 911 is a criminal offence that is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. As mentioned earlier, all 911 calls are taped and the location where they originate is readily identifiable. Persons caught making nuisance calls or reporting fake incidents are subject to prosecution.
One of the most time-consuming non-emergency efforts which our call takers must endeavour is to try and determine whether or not cell phone calls are an emergency. Several calls come into 911 which are noted as ‘hang-up’ 911 calls.
For a variety of reasons, we must try and determine whether it is a ‘real’ emergency. This can be very time consuming. A vast majority of the time hang-up 911 calls from cell phones are attributed to ‘hot call’ buttons on cell phones. These are accidentally activated, usually in a purse or a pocket, and can cause a call taker some grief. It is best to disable this feature as ‘911’ is a commonly known number.
Once it is determined that your particular situation requires that officers be dispatched to see you, your generated incident will be assigned a priority. For obvious reasons, unlike most businesses, the Chatham-Kent Police Service cannot handle its calls on a first come, first serve basis. This may result in delays in the time it takes the officers to see you. Depending on the nature of your particular call it may continue to remain on the dispatch queue while more recent calls with a more urgent nature are dispatched. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.
Advising us when you leave the place where we are to see you will help make sure we don’t dispatch officers when you are no longer available. Do not call 911 to get an update on the status of your call or to get a revised time of arrival. Your call will not be forgotten. It is not necessary to call periodically to find out why we have not attended yet. Should a delay result in our dispatching officers to your call, we will likely contact you just prior to dispatch to ensure that you are still available. Your assistance in making yourself available — perhaps later than you would normally like to wait up — is very much appreciated. Factors such as call loads, court attendance, and manpower will affect our response times. Your call is important to us and we will endeavour to have it dispatched in a timely fashion.
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