9-1-1 FAQ

What happens when I call 9-1-1?
The phone system routes your call to the appropriate area’s communication center. Then the call taker asks for the address of the emergency, the phone number you’re calling from, your name, and any other details that may assist the responders. They also ask several questions about the nature of the emergency.

It is important to stay calm and answer all the call taker's questions. The communications center will dispatch your emergency to the appropriate responders. You may be asked to stay on the phone until a responder arrives. The call taker may also give basic first aid instructions when needed.

Why does 9-1-1 ask so many questions when I call for help?
Your answers to these questions provide important information to the fire, medical, or police responders, and help dispatchers determine what type of response to send. They also determine what type of instructions the call taker will give you. These questions do not slow down how quickly help is dispatched to you.

Why do I get a recording when I call?
When 9-1-1 callers receive our recorded message, it is not due to a staffing shortage. It can be due to a number of factors, including many people calling about the same problem. Do not hang up. Stay on the line and a call taker will answer your call as soon as possible.

What if I call 9-1-1 by mistake?
Do not hang up. When the 9-1-1 call taker answers, just tell her or him that you called by mistake. If you hang up, the call taker does not know if an emergency actually exists at the location from which the call originated.

In most cases, the call taker will see the caller's name, phone number, and address. They might call you back to ensure that you are safe or they might even send a police officer to the address to ensure that there is not a problem.

Children often call 9-1-1 and just hang up. If this occurs, the call taker will normally dispatch a police officer to the caller's location to emphasize the importance of calling 9-1-1 only in an emergency.

Do you allow tours of the 9-1-1 Center?
Yes. We encourage small groups to tour our facility in Bradenton which includes the Emergency Communications Center and the Emergency Operations Center. If you or your organization is interested in such a tour, please call us at (941) 749-3500.