911 FAQs

Q. Can I send text or picture messages to 9-1-1?

A. No, the current 9-1-1 system is designed for voice communications. Other types of data, such as text messages, pictures and video cannot be accurately interpreted by the system, and therefore cannot be directly received by the 9-1-1 centers. For more information on future enhancements, click here to visit the Next Generation 9-1-1 System (NG911) concepts.

Q. What is Enhanced or E-911?

A. The Enhanced 9-1-1 system has been operating in Christian County since 1993. This system allows citizens of Christian County and its 9-1-1 service area to use one number in an emergency and be selectively routed to the Christian County PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point). This selective routing is based on the address for wireline and some internet/broadband telephones and is based on the cell site that processes the call for cellular phones.

9-1-1 calls are directly routed to the 9-1-1 center. If fire or medical services are needed, the appropriate agency(ies) will be dispatched. If Christian County Sheriff’s police are needed, the caller is handled in the 9-1-1 center. If other police agencies are needed, the caller &/or the information will be transferred to that police agency.

The Enhanced system also provided automatic number and location identification on a screen at the 9-1-1 center. Wireline phones display the phone number, address and subscriber information on the 9-1-1 screen, which the telecommunicator is required to verify. Internet/broadband (also called VoIP) phones display the phone number, address and subscriber information that the subscriber has registered with the service they utilize (i.e. Vonage, Magic Jack and some cable/satellite providers), so it is extremely important that internet/broadband customers keep their information up to date with their provider. Wireless phones will provide the phone number (if the phone has active service with a wireless vendor) and a general area the wireless phone is in. Depending on the wireless coverage in the area and the type of wireless phone, the accuracy of the location provided varies greatly. 9-1-1 callers using a wireless phone should always be prepared to provide their location to the 9-1-1 telecommunicator.

Q. When will I be asked if I call 9-1-1?

A. For all 9-1-1 calls, you will be asked for the location of the emergency, the phone number you are calling from and the nature of the emergency. Once the nature of the emergency is established, the telecommunicator will ask you questions pertaining to your emergency and may give you pre-arrival instructions. It is important to speak clearly and to answer all of the questions the telecommunicator asks you as calmly and completely as possible. 9-1-1 telecommunicators are trained to ask specific questions that relate to the type of emergency you are experiencing. While you may be asked many questions, this information is not delaying a response by emergency personnel. In fact, emergency personnel are typically dispatched as soon as the location, nature and some key question answers are obtained. The 9-1-1 center will continue to relay the necessary information to the emergency personnel while they ask you questions, and in some cases they may keep you on the phone until help arrives.

Never hang up until the 9-1-1 telecommunicator tells you to do so, unless there is a threat to your safety.

Q. What if I call 9-1-1 by mistake?

A. Should you ever call 9-1-1 by mistake, stay on the phone and tell the telecommunicator that you misdialed, and that you do not have an emergency. If you hang up the call receiver will try to call you back. In either instance, the telecommunicator will notify law enforcement of the call and an officer may be dispatched to verify there is no emergency.

It is important to teach children that 9-1-1 is available if they need emergency assistance, but that the phone is not a toy and it is not a joke to call 9-1-1.

Q. What if I have a problem calling 9-1-1?

A. Wireline phones are the most reliable for calling 9-1-1, so whenever possible use a wireline phone when you need to call 9-1-1. Pay phones can be used to call 9-1-1 without inserting coins. In case of power outages, be aware that VoIP/Internet/Broadband phone service will not work. If you have wireline phone service, you should keep a basic, corded phone that does not require electricity available to use during power outages.

If your address has displayed incorrectly when you call 9-1-1, you should contact your telephone service provider to have your information corrected.

Q. What is I need assistance to make a 9-1-1 call?

A. If you do not speak English or have trouble conveying the needed information in English, interpretation services are available at the 9-1-1 center in Christian County.

If you are deaf or hearing or speech impaired, 9-1-1 centers are equipped with TTY devices and telecommunicators are trained in their use.

Q. Can I call 9-1-1 from a wireless phone with no active service?

A. Wireless phones with no active service can still call 9-1-1, as long as they have battery power. However, be aware that limited information will be available to the 9-1-1 center, and if you are disconnected the 9-1-1 center will not be able to call you back. The 9-1-1 center may have a general location of the phone, but that data may not be available.

There are serious problems with 9-1-1 centers receiving repeated calls from children playing with de-activated, or old, wireless phones. These calls tie up 9-1-1 lines so real emergency calls may not get through. In 2014, 79% of the 9-1-1 calls from de-activated phones were inappropriate calls, including misdials, hang-ups, or most of which are children playing with an old phone.

To help solve this problem, please do not give you old wireless phones to children to play with unless you take the battery out.