• By Albert Depew

Common 911 Questions

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Based on experience, we have compiled a list of common questions relating to using 911.

How do I know when to dial 911?

Anytime you find yourself in a situation that requires an emergency response from a law enforcement agency, a fire department, or an ambulance service you should call 911. As a general rule, if you face a situation where you are trying to decide whether to dial 911 or not, DIAL 911. It is always better to be safe than risk the chance of not getting the help you need, when you need it.

If you have a situation that you need to report, but the incident is a past event and non-threatening (not in progress, suspects are unknown or not seen), i.e., theft of personal property, past criminal mischief/vandalism, a theft from an auto that occurred during the night, then you may want to contact the law enforcement agency to report the incident by calling in on the Carson City Sheriff's Office administrative phone line at 887-2500. Again, anytime you are unsure of when to dial 911, it is always better to dial 911 than risk not getting help when you need it.

What can I expect when I call 911?

When you dial 911, your call will be answered by a Dispatcher. The dispatcher will conduct an interview to determine the type of emergency service needed. Questions generally asked fall into key questions of WHERE and the nature of the emergency situation. It's important to listen to the dispatcher and answer the questions asked. The dispatcher must ask you specific questions in order to ensure you receive the kind of help needed. It may seem that you are asked a lot of questions and that a lot of time has passed, however trained dispatchers will only ask questions that are necessary in getting you the proper help you need. This generally takes less than 30-45 seconds. Often times the dispatcher will start emergency response units and will return to ask the follow-up questions.  Please remain calm and listen to the dispatcher's instructions...help is on the way.

What happens if I accidentally dial 911?

Misdials are sometimes experienced on 911. Often many misdials are realized after the number is dialed and the caller will immediately disconnect the line. This is what is commonly referred to as a "911 hang up". If a connection was made, regardless if the line was not answered by the 911 dispatcher, the PSAP will still receive the call. It is very important to remain on the line, even if you realize you misdialed. If you disconnect the line, the 911 dispatcher must process the call as an unknown emergency, until otherwise determined.

Who answers the 911 for Carson City?

In Carson City, the PSAP is located at the Carson City Sheriff's Office.

What are the responsibilities of the Carson City Dispatch Center?

Carson City Dispatch Center is responsible for receiving and disseminating all calls for service, both emergency and non-emergency. Our 911 dispatchers are employees of the Sheriff's Office and provide dispatching services for public safety agencies in Carson City.

How you can help?

One of the most significant problems that emergency responders face is that the majority of homes do not have their current address displayed, or properly displayed, so that emergency responders can readily see them.  We are fortunate to have a good addressing system in Carson City. With our 911 system, emergency responders may know what your address is, but locating a residence where the address is not prominently displayed can be difficult, take valuable time, and may have serious and tragic results in situations where seconds count.

Giving the 911 dispatcher detailed directions is very helpful, but keep in mind that in some cases there are response units from different agencies and that they may be dispatched through different dispatch centers. In cases where a residence is not properly marked, having to repeat the directions multiple times to assist emergency response units in locating an address can delay the arrival of emergency response units.

In the event that your mailbox is not near your residence, or in a location where multiple mailboxes are located, displaying your address in a location that identifies your residence (at the end of your driveway, or on the house itself) is extremely helpful in getting help to you or a loved one in an emergency.

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