911 Frequently Asked Questions

What is Enhanced 911?

¬†¬†¬† Enhanced 911 refers to the ability of the 911 Communications Center to receive Automatic Number Identification and Automatic Location Identification also known as (ANI/ALI). Enhanced 911 Centers employ technology far beyond that available to the general public such as “Caller ID”. In fact even if you have an unlisted number or caller ID block, when you call 911 we still get your information. Furthermore, if you ever have a true emergency and dial 911, even if you hang up before the phone rings we will still get the information.

If I dial 911 from a cellular phone, will the 911 Telecommunicator know where I am?

   In most cases, YES. If you have a cellular phone that is four years old or older, it may not possess the technology necessary to transmit your location information. If your phone is relatively new then most likely we would be able to locate you if you dialed 911. Vance County E-911 is fully deployed for all cell phone providers that offer coverage in Vance County. Our advanced mapping technology allows us to locate callers with exceptional accuracy and also allows us to track their movements as long as the 911 remains active. 

What is E-911 Surcharge Money?

    E-911 surcharge or the Emergency Telephone System Fund (ETSF) is a means of collecting the funding necessary to implement and maintain an Enhanced 911 system. Many Counties and Municipalities have implemented such surcharges in order to be able to implement E-911. In most cases imposing a surcharge fund is much cheaper for the taxpaying community than an increase in taxes in the amount necessary for implementation and maintenance. 

What can this money be used for?

    The use of E-911 Surcharge funds is governed by the North Carolina General Assembly and is defined in the North Carolina General Statutes. The money cannot be used to pay for salaries, or training for 911 employees. It also cannot be used for any departments other than 911. Furthermore it can only be used for the purchase and maintenance of equipment and services necessary to maintain a functioning Enhanced 911 system.          

Do I have to give my name when I call 911 and report a crime?

¬† NO. It is our policy that callers are not required to give their name when calling 911. Vance County has Enhanced 911 which means that the location of the call as well as the caller’s name and phone number are automatically provided on all calls made from a land based phone. In addition, we also receive similar information on cellular 911 calls. As a part of protocol, the 911 Telecommunicator will ask you for your name and other information in an attempt to confirm what has been automatically provided. This ensures that help arrives where it is needed and in a timely fashion. When asked for your name if you do not wish to provide it, simply inform the 911 Telecommunicator and your name will not be released outside of official law enforcement or public safety channels and will not be broadcast over the radio.

Why do the 911 Telecommunicators ask so many questions?

  Information helps us to better serve you. Keep in mind that 911 Telecommunicators go through hundreds of hours of training to help them rapidly and accurately process your call for help. Though the questions we ask may sometimes seem insignificant to you at the time, they are of great importance to us in guiding the appropriate help to you when you need it. For example when reporting a crime in progress, it is unlikely that the perpetrator will remain on scene and in one place until law enforcement arrives. By obtaining a detailed description of the person, law enforcement will be watching for him/her on the way to the call. More often than not if the person leaves, law enforcement personnel will encounter the person before arriving on scene and can take action immediately.

Are 911 Telecommunicators Police Officers?

 NO. In fact 911 Telecommunicators are actually civilian employees who are trained in crisis intervention, incident response coordination and local public safety emergency response protocols. Each public safety agency in the City and County has its own set of protocols and procedures that enable them to respond effectively to all types of emergency situations. 911 Telecommunicators have to know the protocols of each agency in order to support these departments.   

Why is it so important for me to post my house numbers?

  Posting your house numbers is crucial to emergency responders in locating you in your time of need. Remember, Enhanced 911 only tells us (the 911 Telecommunicators) where you are. This information has to then be relayed to the responding units. Posting your house numbers makes you much easier to find during an emergency.      

Why does it sometimes seem like it takes forever for help to arrive?

  Often times, this is all relative. When a person is under extreme stress such as during a time of emergency, time can often seem to move slower than usual. In most instances emergency crews arrive on the scene of an emergency in only a few minutes.

How can I become a 911 Telecommunicator?

    The requirements for being a 911 Telecommunicator are: a high school diploma or equivalent, good computer skills, a good working knowledge of the Vance County area, the ability to multi-task and a strong desire to help others in their time of need.

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