Frequently Asked Questions
WHEN DO I USE 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is a reporting number. Call 911 to report an incident which you believe requires the response or intervention of a law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency medical service. The professionals answering the 9-1-1 call will determine which agencies or units should respond and how quickly they need to reach the scene of the incident.
When a person is hurt or injured.
When a crime has been or is being committed.
When a motor vehicle accident occurs.
Any situation involving a fire.
HOW DOES ENHANCED 911 WORK?
Special computers and monitors display the location and phone number where the 9-1-1 call originated. A typical 9-1-1 display will give the phone number of the caller, the address and apartment or lot number, and the name of the telephone service subscriber.
HOW DOES A 9-1-1 CALL GET TO THE RIGHT PLACE?
Telephone computers are set up to identify the location where the 9-1-1 originated and automatically route it to the correct 9-1-1 center for that geographic location. Usually the calls are routed based on the political jurisdictional boundaries.
In Duval County, a 9-1-1 call from anywhere in Atlantic Beach will go to the Atlantic Beach Police Department. Calls from Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach will ring in to the respective police departments for those jurisdictions. Calls originating anywhere else in Duval County will ring to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Calls requiring fire control or rescue will be transferred with the touch of a button to the Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Department.
WHAT ABOUT 9-1-1 CALLS FROM BUSINESSES?
9-1-1 works the same way from businesses. However, if the business has a private switchboard (PBX) the call may originate from one of several different buildings or floors. An example of this might be a bank with multiple branches, or a municipal government with multiple administrative office buildings, such as the City of Jacksonville (City Hall, Courthouse, Police Memorial Building, Public Defenders Office, etc.) The information displayed on the 9-1-1 screens will show the location of the switchboard. The 9-1-1 call-taker will ask the caller for specific location information, such as which building or floor and room.
WHAT IF I NEED TO CALL 9-1-1 WHEN I'M AWAY FROM HOME?
You can call 9-1-1 from a pay phone. It is a free call, you don't need a quarter. The address information from the coin phone is provided on the 9-1-1 display screen.
CAN I USE MY CELLULAR PHONE TO CALL 9-1-1?
Cellular phones can call 9-1-1 as a free call. No location information can be provided, (because cellular phones are usually moving) so in that case the dispatcher is dependent upon the caller to provide location information, roadway, direction of travel, etc.
CAN HEARING IMPAIRED PEOPLE USE 9-1-1?
All 9-1-1 PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) in the state of Florida are required to have TDD capability for communication with hearing and speech impaired persons.
WHAT IF A CALLER DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH?
All Duval County PSAPs have translator services available for non-English speaking callers.
WHO PAYS FOR 9-1-1?
The state of Florida permits each county to collect a user fee on the telephone bills of the telephone service customers within the county. The revenues from the 9-1-1 user fee may be used only to pay the cost of the 9-1-1 system, telephone equipment, computer and location database charges, other required equipment, limited administrative expenses and a limited percentage of the salaries of the call-takers who answer 9-1-1 calls. The monthly fee in any county may not exceed $.50, and Florida statute 365.171 requires that the 9-1-1 funds be maintained in a separate account and audited annually.
Cellular phone users do not contribute any fees to the 9-1-1 system at this date.
IS THERE A PENALTY FOR ABUSE OF 9-1-1?
YES. Florida Statute 365.171(16). It is a first class misdemeanor to make false 9-1-1 calls. Punishable by $1000 fine or up to 1 year imprisonment.
HOW DID 9-1-1 BECOME THE UNIVERSAL NUMBER?
9-1-1 ..... the first telephone call was a call for help. In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. During his testing he spilled a bottle of acid and called out 'Watson, come here, I need you.' His conversation was transmitted via the telephone to his assistant Watson in another room, and the first telephone call became a part of history.
The concept of being able to dial a single (universal) number to report emergencies was first utilized in Great Britain, back in 1937. Citizens could dial the digits 9-9-9 and reach a central operator who would in turn dispatch police, fire or ambulance as needed.
This idea came to the United States in 1967. It was introduced to Congress and committees were formed to decide how to make the concept a reality.
First, the telephone companies had to find a three-digit number that was not being used anywhere in the United States or Canada as a central office exchange or an area code. Other considerations were that it should be easy to find on the telephone dial or easily dialed in the dark. The telephone industry decided on the numbers 9-1-1.
The very first 9-1-1 call was placed on February 16, 1968 in Haleyville, Alabama.
The first 9-1-1 calls could only provide a voice connection. Callers knew that a call to 9-1-1 would connect them to the right people for emergency help. But the emergency responders did not have any information other than that provided by the caller. Still, 9-1-1 was a big improvement in emergency services.
Enhanced 9-1-1 provides the callers location information and telephone number via special computers and display screens. Enhanced 9-1-1 also provides for selective routing of 9-1-1 calls to multiple jurisdictions.
Enhanced 9-1-1 service came to Jacksonville, Florida on February 2, 1987.
WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE 9-1-1 WORK BETTER?
Post your house number clearly - so the emergency responders can find you more quickly.
Don't use vanity addresses such as '1 Sam Jones Road' or '100 American Widget Industries Plaza.' These vanity addresses may cause confusion for the emergency responders and could cause a delay in locating the emergency.
Don't use 9-1-1 to play games - children frequently want to try 9-1-1 and see if it works. It works. False calls tie up the 9-1-1 lines and could prevent a genuine emergency call from getting through.
Don't call for situations which are not time sensitive or which do not require the response of police, fire or emergency medical services.
Don't call 9-1-1 to report inconveniences such as 'no electricity' or plumbing problems, or to ask for weather reports or other information.
TELEPHONE SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION
Master Street Address Guide Search - address search for telephone service providers to verify customer service address for the 911 Emergency Telephone System