Calling 911: A Race Against Time
September 30, 2014
Many Cleburne County residents will never have to call 911, others may not be as fortunate. One important thing to realize when calling 911 is that you could be a life line in the midst of a crisis situation. There are many things to remember when calling in an emergency that will help things run more smoothly.  

At a minimum, know where you are. Even if you are unfamiliar with an area, pay attention to land marks and road names or numbers. This helps the 911 dispatcher know what department to send where.

Don’t panic. Although the situation can be scary and seem out of control, the key is to remain calm. If you feel yourself losing control take a few deep breaths to regain your composure. By remaining calm you will be able to provide critical information that could be a difference in life and death.

You will be asked several questions, so be patient. These questions are critical for responders that will be coming to help you. Answer them as best you can. Remember, when the 911 dispatcher continues to ask questions or is giving instructions, responders are on the way. Understand that it takes time for emergency responders to get to you.

Follow instructions and Listen to the 911 dispatcher. 911 dispatchers are well trained individuals that are ready to assist however they can to bring relief to your situation.

Why is all this important?
Last year alone in Cleburne County the E911 department received 16,500 emergency calls. These calls required the assistance of first responders. Responding to emergencies are not only responders in the county but at certain times other state agencies and/or neighboring agencies as well. The numbers are staggering. Broken down into just a few agencies one can see that the responders in our county stay super busy.

It is important to remember that although 911 is a public service, it is only to be used for a true emergency. A true emergency is when there is a possible threat to life, health or property. Only use 911 in situations where it requires an immediate response from Law Enforcement, Medics, or the Fire service. Structure fires, heart attacks, or domestic disputes are good reasons to dial 911.

Cleburne County has a non-emergency number for Dispatch (256) 463-8911. Use this number when you need to report things such as; an unexpected power outage, obtain a phone number, or to report a lost pet. If it is not a life safety issue, this is the number to use.

Cleburne County 911 is responsible for maintaining all records of emergency calls for service. They also keep recordings of all emergency radio traffic and each 911 call that is received in the center. Always respect the 911 system, but never be intimidated by it, you will be speaking to a live person who is trained to help you through your emergency.

 By Sheila Amundson, Senior Communications Officer, Cleburne County E911