FREE Sample From "Secrets Of 9-1-1"

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Question #2

Who Answers The Phone From A Cellular 9-1-1 Call?

It used to be that if you were calling from a cellular phone you were where? That's right, in your car.

So it made perfect sense to have all cellular 9-1-1 calls answered by the CHP (California Highway Patrol).

The problem with a cellular 9-1-1 call is that it is like using a walkie-talkie in that it can't be traced. Nothing shows up on the screen when you call 9-1-1 from a cellular phone!

The CHP has no idea where you are calling from. They don't even know what city you're in, let alone what zip code you're in! (See Appendix B for the latest in locator technology)

And now with portable cellular phones, you could even be on the 27th floor of a high-rise, hiding in a closet. Which means that you not only need to know where you are, but you must be able to describe it.

People often get confused during emergencies. In Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank, they send TWO engine companies on all freeway calls. One going the direction the person says they are going, and one going the opposite direction.

Many times the caller thinks they are going West, and they are really going East. Once you get on the wrong side of the freeway, it can take a long time to get to the other side.

Plus, with traffic backed up, the unit going the opposite direction may get on scene first, and be able to just hurdle the center divider

The CHP receives almost 3 million 9-1-1 calls a year in California, with 500,000 of those calls coming into the CHP's Los Angeles Commmunications Center.

The Los Angeles center is staffed with 25-45 operators at a time. If you did the math from above, the call load is about 1370 calls a day (other estimates are at 1800 calls per day). That works out to about 100 calls/hour from 7 AM to 2 AM.

All handled by only 24-45 operators!

They also have to answer ANOTHER 2300 calls a day from call boxes and other phones (See section on FREEWAY CALL BOXES).

Is it any wonder you're getting busy signals, and being put on hold? (I was put on hold by CHP for 12 minutes just the other day, with a true emergency)

One of the contributing factors to the call load is multiple reports of the same incident. It's not unusual for the CHP to get 30 calls regarding the same accident.

The CHP has the ability to patch your call to another agency, so if you are in Arcadia, and need Paramedics, say "Patch me through to the Arcadia Fire Department." (Remember, we don't know what city your're in, so you have to specify the city)

Since cellular calls can become disconnected, the CHP dispatcher may ask a few pertinent questions in case you get cut off. Don't be impatient. Those few seconds may be a life-saver to you.

And speaking of a life-saver, since the CHP is overwhelmed with calls, here's a way around the backlog for Medical calls:

Fire Department Dispatch Centers have emergency 7-digit phone lines directly to their dispatchers. This is the same number I use If I have emergency communication for them and can't do it over the radio.

If YOU use this line, be advised that they are not enhanced lines. So nothing shows up on the screen. But that's OK in this case, because we're calling from a cellular phone anyway.

I was able to get, and put into the Bonus Section, these 7-digit Emergency and Non-Emergency phone numbers for the various agencies in ALL of Los Angeles County!

(We will automatically make available to you the updated version for all of Southern California as soon as it's completed)

I keep my copy in the car, with a short list of the cities I'm in the most, taped inside my Thomas Guide® map book.

This way, if I don't need the CHP, rather than waste precious time calling someone I don't need, and possibly getting delayed even further by unnecessary (but well-meaning) questions, I can call the agency I need directly!!!

And as I said, it's an Emergency Line, so your call will be treated as such!