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
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