What is 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is a toll-free telephone number available for police, fire or medical emergencies. 9-1-1 allows people to report emergency situations 24 hours a day 7 days a week by dialing the three digits from most telephones.
When should I call 9-1-1?
9-1-1 should only be dialed when there is an emergency. Emergencies may be described as life or death situations, smoke or fires, medical problems, immediate danger to persons or property, and in-progress crimes.
The following are examples of when to call 9-1-1:
- There is a fire
- You see or smell smoke
- Someone is hurt, sick, or needs medical attention.
- You or someone else is in danger
- Someone is trying to get into a house or is prowling around a house
- There is a crime in-progress or that just happened (robbery, burglary, assault, shooting, fight, etc.)
- Someone has a weapon
The following are examples of when NOT to call 9-1-1:
- To ask for directions or phone numbers
- To report loud music, a loud party, a barking dog, or any other non-emergency noise violation
- To report delayed crimes where there is no immediate threat to life or property
- To inquire about general information: community events, weather reports, prisoners, copies of police reports, questions about traffic tickets, etc.
- To report power outages, phone or water problems (unless the problem is causing an emergency situation)
Whether your call is an emergency or non-emergency, it will still be handled as quickly as possible. However, in order to allow true emergencies to be handled immediately, non-emergency incidents occurring in the City of Plantation should be reported to the Plantation Police Department non-emergency number (954) 797-2100. If there is any doubt whether the situation is an emergency or not, play it safe and dial 9-1-1.
Will 9-1-1 know my location?
Maybe. Depending on the device you are using to dial 9-1-1, the 9-1-1 Call Taker may or may not be able to determine your location. Although some devices provide location information, 9-1-1 Call takers will still ask you to provide or verify your location.
The PlantationPoliceCommunicationsCenter is equipped with an Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) system that will display the phone number and address of any residential or business landline phone, as programmed by the phone company.
If you are calling from a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone, your call may be routed to a PSAP based on the physical address associated with your account. Some users of VoIP move their line to different locations; therefore, the address associated with the account may not be where the phone is located. VoIP users should contact their provider to verify account information and procedures for calling 9-1-1. When calling 9-1-1, subscribers of VoIP should immediately provide their location and call back number.
If you are calling from a cell phone, your call will hit your cell phone provider’s nearest tower and then route to the closest 9-1-1 call center. Depending on your cell phone’s capability, either your approximate location or the address of the cell tower may be displayed for the 9-1-1 Call Taker. Cell phones cannot give your exact location. Therefore, you should always assume that the 9-1-1 Call Taker does not know your location and provide this piece of information first, before anything else.
What if I don’t know my location when I call 9-1-1?
If you see an address or street name, begin with that information. Look around you and tell the 9-1-1 Call Taker what you see. Banks, restaurants, gas stations, shopping plazas, and residential complexes are all examples of starting points the 9-1-1 Call Taker can use to identify your location. Try to remember how you got there and what roads you took to get there, especially any main roads or highways.
Why does the Call Taker ask so many questions?
9-1-1 Call Takers are trained to ask questions based on the type of incident that is occurring. These questions assist Dispatchers in prioritizing calls and sending the right units based on the incident occurring, the people involved, and the safety issues present. Additional questions prepare the responding units for what to expect at the scene of the incident and/ or what to look for in the area. The most important thing to understand is that help can still be sent while you are on the phone answering these questions. As the caller is answering questions, the 9-1-1 Call Taker is relaying the information to the Dispatcher and responding units in real time through the use of a computer system.
What should I do if I accidentally dial 9-1-1?
If you accidentally dial 9-1-1, do not hang up! You will not get into trouble for dialing 9-1-1 by mistake. We understand that accidents happen, so stay on the phone and let the 9-1-1 Call Taker know who you are and what happened. Callers that hang up the phone after dialing 9-1-1 will receive a call back to verify they are safe and that no emergency exists. If there is no response, a police officer may be dispatched to your location.
Who do I call to report non-emergency incidents?
Non-emergency incidents occurring in the City of Plantation should be reported to the Plantation Police Department non-emergency number (954) 797-2100. Keep in mind that this is a non-emergency number, and 9-1-1 calls will be answered first. In addition, Call Takers may need to place you hold to answer incoming 9-1-1 calls.
If the incident you are reporting occurred outside the City of Plantation, the incident should be reported to agency handling that jurisdiction. If there is any doubt whether the situation you are reporting is an emergency or not, dial 9-1-1.
What should I teach my child about calling 9-1-1?
It is very important to educate your child about the use of 9-1-1. Always teach them the basic skills needed to call 9-1-1 when adult assistance is not available. Parents should review the following information with their child:
- Home address and full phone number
- Full names of parents and the child
- What an emergency is and when to call 9-1-1
- To not be afraid of calling 9-1-1 when there is an emergency
- To stay on the phone and answer the 9-1-1 Call Taker’s questions
- To not call 9-1-1 as a joke or prank
- Click here to access educational links for parents and children
Can you assist 9-1-1 callers who do not speak English?
Yes. When someone who does not speak English calls 9-1-1, they will be transferred to an interpreter who will translate the conversation between the caller and the 9-1-1 Call Taker. Non-English speakers should try their best to advise the 9-1-1 Call Taker what language they speak in order to quickly receive the correct interpreter on the line.
Can you assist 9-1-1 callers who are deaf or hearing/speech impaired?
Yes. The Plantation Police Communications Center has the capability of receiving TTY/ TDD (Text Telephone/ Telephone Device for the Deaf) calls through the Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) system at each phone position. All telecommunicators are thoroughly trained in the use of the TTY/ TDD and receive retraining biannually to maintain proficiency.
Can I send a text or picture message to 9-1-1?
No. The current E9-1-1 system is not designed to receive text or picture messages.