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Helpful Tips

We want the public to be as informed and prepared as possible. 9-1-1 calls can be intense and in those first few seconds, we need as much information as possible to get you the help you need. We have provided some information to prepare you for a 9-1-1 call and help us in the process.

What do I say?

  • Stay calm and speak clearly.
  • Listen carefully and answer the dispatcher's questions.
  • Verbally answer questions. We are unable to see you head movements or hand gestures.
  • State the emergency.
  • State the address. It is very important to verify the address.
  • Stay on the line at all times.
  • Do not hang up until the Dispatcher tells you to. There may be more questions and if Emergency Medical Services (an ambulance service) is involved the dispatcher will have further instructions until EMS arrives.
  • Make sure to follow the Dispatcher instruction and stay calm.
  • Finally, stay next to the phone in case the Dispatcher calls with further questions.

What if you are unable to speak?

  • Make sure to stay as calm as possible.
  • Dial 9-1-1
  • Leave the phone off the hook or make some kind of noise to let the Dispatcher know there is an emergency.
  • With Enhanced 9-1-1, the address is automatically provided to the dispatcher if you are calling from a land line phone.  Allegan County 9-1-1 will send an officer out to any 9-1-1 open line whether we can hear someone on the phone or not.

    NOTE: Enhanced 9-1-1/ VoIP 9-1-1 are not always right. It is always in the best interest for all involved to verify the location whenever possible.

    Most cell phones provide dispatchers with a latitude and longitude in a small perimeter of where the caller is located but again the information is not always correct.

What information will they need from me?

  • The address you are calling from and/or nearest cross streets
  • Name and telephone number
  • Provide a brief description of what occurred and why you are calling.
  • Where exactly did this occur? Advise whether it was a house, apartment, building, parking lot, room/area etc.
  • How long ago did this happen?
  • Were there any weapons, an assault, or any drinking/drugs involved?
  • What direction was the suspect(s) headed?
  • Was the suspect(s) on foot or in a vehicle?
  • What did the suspect(s) look like?
    • Gender
    • Race
    • Age
    • Height & Weight
    • Hair color/length
    • Clothing
    • Glasses/facial hair
    • Was the suspects(s) carrying anything?
    • Vehicle description, color, make, model, license plate.
This information will help everyone involved and help keep everyone safe and receive the help they need in a timely manner. Many times the caller will not have all this information but the more you can provide helps the dispatcher and emergency services greatly.