There are differences in the way phones reach 9-1-1 services depending on how they are connected. There is traditional telephone service, Wireless (cellular/mobile) service and VoIP Service. Please see this link for a description of Wireless and VoIP 911 in Illinois.
9-1-1 is for emergencies, potential emergencies, or when an emergency is imminent.
You should also call 9-1-1 anytime you need police, fire, or an ambulance to respond. If in doubt as to whether or not this is an emergency and you want Police, Fire or an Ambulance to respond then you should Dial 9-1-1.
Is there a danger to life or property?
Is the caller or someone else the victim of a crime?
Do you have a police emergency? Do you need police to respond?
Does the caller or someone else have a medical emergency?
Does the caller need the fire department?
The 9-1-1 professional will determine whether the call should be processed via 9-1-1, or whether the caller should be referred to another number or agency as appropriate.
If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is all right. All 9-1-1 calls must be verified by sending a police officer to the address. Cellular 9-1-1 calls will be verified by calling the cellular phone number back.
WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I CALL 9-1-1?
WHAT WILL THE DISPATCHER WANT TO KNOW?
The person answering 9-1-1 is a trained dispatcher. They have been trained as to what questions to ask. The dispatcher will ask you the following questions.
What’s the address of the emergency?
What’s the phone number you are calling from?
What’s your name?
Tell me exactly what happened?
Additional incident questioning regarding persons and vehicles involved, weapons involved, and questions concerning personal or scene safety may be asked.
Medical questioning will be asked for medical calls including age of the patient, breathing status, consciousness (alertness of the patient), immediate hazards, and then specific illness questions in order to relay information to the responding units.
ANSWERING QUESTIONS DOES NOT DELAY RESPONSE.
Keep your answers as short and direct as possible.
If it is safe for the caller to do so, the caller will be asked to stay on the telephone with the 9-1-1 dispatcher until units arrive on the scene.
If you cannot stay on the phone with the dispatcher, you may be asked to just set the phone down, but not hang up.
When should I use the Non-Emergency Phone Number?
1-847-446-2131 is the 24-hour non-emergency phone number for the Northfield Communications Center. This number is answered by the dispatchers as well as used to reach the administrative offices of the Police Department. In addition to handing emergency calls and routine citizen complaints (e.g. parking complaints, traffic complaints, noise complaints, etc.) the Northfield Police Department provides a number of services to residents that the non-emergency number is to be used for. These services include:
Animal Calls / Services (Some are referred to private contractors)
Child Safety Seat Inspections
Key Safekeeping Services
Off-Hours Public Works Emergencies
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I CALL 911 FROM A CELLULAR PHONE?
Northfield Police Department handles 9-1-1 calls from Cellular Towers in several locations in and around Northfield. Cellular calls are routed to the police agency depending on which Cellular tower takes the phone call. If one cellular tower is “busy”, it may pass the call to the next nearest tower. Northfield receives Phase I and Phase II Cellular Calls. The Phase of call received is dependent on the cellular carrier. Northfield receives most calls for the Edens Expressway (I94) within their jurisdiction of Tower Road to Skokie Road.
Phase 0 Cellular Calls – The police agency receives the phone call, but no identifying information is received regarding the phone number of the caller or tower sending the call. Some agencies in Illinois and other states are handling wireless calls at this level.
Phase I Cellular Calls – The police agency receives the phone call, with the cellular tower address receiving the call and the phone number of the caller. Many Northfield calls come in as Phase I, and then the dispatcher can upgrade the information to Phase II after the caller has remained on the line for approximately 20 seconds. If the caller hangs up too soon, the dispatcher cannot get the updated information.
Phase II Cellular Calls – the police agency receives the phone call, the cellular phone number of the caller, and the latitude and longitude of the caller at the time of the call. Some carriers are capable of updating the location information as the caller moves. Some are not. The newest cellular phones send Phase II data with the original phone call. When Northfield receives Phase II cellular calls, the caller’s physical location with accuracy within 300 meters, appears on a map in the communications center. Phase II data is helpful to locate callers who do not know where they are or cannot speak. It is an additional tool.
WHAT IF THE CALLER SPEAKS LIMITED ENGLISH?
Northfield dispatchers contract with a service who provide immediate translation for non English speaking callers. The caller will need to convey the language they speak.
WHAT IF I AM SPEECH-IMPAIRED OR HEARING-IMPAIRED AND NEED TO CALL 9-1-1?
The Northfield Communications Center provides equal access to 9-1-1 services for callers who use Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TTY). TTY users may call 9-1-1, or use the 11-digit non-emergency line (1-847-446-2131).
Although it is not required, TTY users can expedite recognition of their call by the 9-1-1 dispatcher by tapping the spacebar on the TTY every few seconds. Tapping the spacebar sends tones to equipment at the 9-1-1 center notifying the dispatcher that the call may be a TTY call.