• To get a Telephone Number:  Call information (411) or check the telephone book.
  • To report a Power or Cable Outage:  Call your local power or cable company.
  • To get Weather Information: Contact the National Weather Service recording at 352-3360.
  • To get Road Conditions:  Contact the California Highway Patrol Automated Road and Weather Advisory at 482-2555 or (800) 427-7623.
  • To get information about School Closings: Check for closures on major television and radio stations or contact the school.
  • To get Directions or an Address: Most streets and maps can be found online using a web site such as Google Maps or Map Quest.
  • To get Household or Automobile Repairs: Contact a repair service of your choice
  • To get Legal Advice: Check the phone book under Legal Services
  • To report an Injured Domestic Animal: Contact a local veterinarian or the Humane Society at 339-6291.

These calls tie up phone lines and 911 Dispatchers; this could delay them from helping someone with a true life & death emergency.

What should I expect when I call 911, and why do Public Safety Dispatchers ask all those questions?

Information helps us better serve you. Keep in mind, Public Safety Dispatchers go through specialized training to help them rapidly and accurately process your call for help.  Some of the questions are always the same:

  •  “911, Where is your emergency?” This question is necessary because the location of the emergency may not be where the caller is at.
  • “What is the telephone number you are calling from?” We need a number to call you back if the phone line gets disconnected.
  • “Is this an emergency?” Dispatchers must often deal with 911 calls for directions, weather conditions or traffic information.  This misuse of 911 is unacceptable, and has the potential of delaying true emergency calls.
  • “What is the problem? Tell me exactly what happened.”It is important for the dispatcher to determine the nature of the call in order to dispatch the appropriate resources (Fire, EMS or Law Enforcement).

Once this initial information is determined, appropriate help can be dispatched.

Though the questions we ask may sometimes seem insignificant to you at the time, they are of great importance to us in guiding the appropriate help when you need it.  Depending on the type of emergency, the dispatcher may need to keep you on the line to provide further instructions or information until help arrives.

By remaining on the line with the 911 Dispatcher and answering all these questions, am I delaying the help that I need?

NO. Be assured that while you are being asked the questions, appropriate help is being dispatched.  In many cases, the 911 dispatcher asks the questions while another dispatcher is sending help.

Why does it sometimes seem like it takes forever for help to arrive?

Often times, this is all relative.  When a person comes under extreme stress such as during a time of emergency, time can often seem to move slower than usual. Time perception can become distorted.  In most cases, first responders arrive on the scene within a short time.

Does your 911 Center have the ability to assist someone who doesn’t speak English?

YES.  The Imperial County Sheriff’s Office E-911 Center utilizes AT&T’s Language Line Service to translate 911 calls from non-English speaking callers. AT&T’s Language Line Service is capable of translating over 170 spoken languages.  With the touch of a single button, the 911 dispatcher connects the caller with this service and remains on the line taking the information as the translator mediates the call.  To see a complete list of languages that AT&T’s Language Line Service is capable of translating, click HERE

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