Frequently Asked Questions
911 operators are trained to ask specific questions to determine the most appropriate response by public safety officers. Normally your call is taken by a call-taker who enters the information you give them into a computer system. That information is then automatically sent to the dispatcher who usually dispatches help to you before you ever hang-up with the operator.
WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO ME AND I CAN’T SPEAK? HOW CAN 911 HELP ME?
When you dial 911 from a traditional telephone, one that is wired into a house or other building, the location from which you are calling is displayed on a computer screen in front of the 911 operators. If you cannot speak, you are ill, or are being kept from talking by an intruder, leave the telephone off the hook. Any noise that we can hear will help us determine the most appropriate response. In cases of domestic violence, the victim often leaves the telephone off the hook and the call-taker is able to determine the nature of the situation quickly and send the appropriate law enforcement response.
I HAVE A HEARING IMPAIRMENT AND CANNOT COMMUNICATE OVER A REGULAR TELEPHONE LINE. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I NEED HELP IN AN EMERGENCY?
Gwinnett County 911 operators are trained in the use of a TDD/TTY. It is not necessary to dial a separate number for TTD/TTY calls or to place these calls through a relay service. If you need help, simply dial 911. The telephone system will recognize a TTD/TTY call and your call will be handled as quickly and efficiently as calls placed by non-impaired callers.
CAN I CALL 911 FROM MY CELLULAR PHONE?
Something else to remember about wireless 911 calls is that your location is not automatically displayed like it is from calls placed by traditional phones. The operator will initially see the location of the cell tower your phone is using to route the call to the 911 center. As of September 2012, cell phone companies provide Phase II wireless information, which means 911 equipment is able to narrow the caller’s location to within 300 meters of their exact location. Therefore, if you are not familiar with your exact location, it is crucial that you give as much information about your surroundings as possible.
WHY AM I CHARGED A 911 SUBSCRIBER FEE ON MY TELEPHONE BILL?
911 subscriber fees support the entire operation of your 911 systems, from salaries to training and equipment. Without the 911-subscriber fee, we could not continue to provide 911 services.
HOW DO I BECOME A 911 DISPATCHER?
You must be prepared for this exciting, challenging, and stress-filled career. The minimum qualifications are the ability to pass a criminal background check, physical examination, and drug screening. Dispatchers are also required to have a high school diploma or its equivalent, the ability to type on a computer keyboard, the ability to hear within the required range, and the ability to speak the English language clearly. All employees are required to be available to work any shift (7:00am to 3:00pm, 3:00pm to 11:00pm, or 11:00pm to 7:00am) weekends and holidays. For more information about becoming an E-911 Communications Officer, visit our Recruitment webpage.