What do Dispatchers do?
Police and Fire dispatchers answer the emergency and non-emergency phone lines for the City of Hammond and monitor the location of emergency service personnel. The phone lines are manned 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dispatchers are often the first people the public contact when emergency assistance is required.

When handling calls, dispatchers question each caller carefully to determine the type, seriousness, and location of the emergency. The information obtained is entered into a computer system and is used to determine the priority of the incident, the kind and number of units needed, and the location of the closest and most suitable units available.

When appropriate, dispatchers stay in close contact with other service providers, for example, a police dispatcher would monitor the response of the fire department when there is a major fire. In a medical emergency, dispatchers keep in close touch not only with the dispatched units, but also with the caller. They may give extensive first-aid instructions before the emergency personnel arrive, while the caller is waiting for the ambulance. Dispatchers continuously give updates on the patient’s condition to the ambulance personnel and often serve as a link between the medical staff in a hospital and the emergency medical technicians in the ambulance.

It is a very demanding job and one that requires a great deal of skill.

When should I dial 911?
You should dial 911 for any Police, Fire, or Medical Emergency - threat to life or property.

Why do Dispatchers ask so many questions?
911 Dispatchers are trained to ask various questions that will assure a timely response to all emergency and service related calls. The questions they ask allow them to determine the exact nature of the call. The information collected is transmitted to the responding units so they can properly handle the call and to assure their safety. Certain questions must also be asked to provide emergency assistance until responding units can arrive. The caller needs to be patient, answer all questions, and understand that the questions are being asked for a reason.

What should I do when I call 911?
When you get on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, it is important to remember the following in order to help us get to your emergency as quickly as possible:

  • Remain calm
  • Be prepared to give the correct address of your emergency and the phone number from where you are calling.
  • Keep in mind that help is being sent simultaneously as the dispatcher takes your information.
  • Stay on the phone with the dispatcher. Do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.