Henry County, Tennessee 911
Henry County 911 Dispatch
EMS - Fire - Sheriff's Office - Police - Rescue For Emergencies, Dial 911  
   

911 FAQs

Q. How do I know if a situation warrants calling 9-1-1?
A. Any situation that is life-threatening or involves significant property damage (e.g., a house on fire) should be addressed by calling 9-1-1.

Q. If I'm in doubt about whether to call or not, should I still call?
A. Yes. It's better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 dispatcher determine if you need assistance rather than possibly put someone's life at risk by not taking action.  

Q. What if I call 9-1-1 by mistake?
A. DO NOT HANG UP. Tell the dispatcher what happened so that he/she knows that there really isn't an emergency. If you hang up without speaking, you may cause the dispatcher to believe that you are in serious danger (e.g., overcome by smoke in a house fire, threatened by an intruder, etc.) and send a police officer to your location.   

Q. What are the costs of unnecessary 9-1-1 calls?
A. Prank calls or obvious non-emergency calls to 9-1-1 waste time and money, and pose a danger to public health. When 9-1-1 lines are bogged down by dispatcher handling unnecessary calls, someone with a real emergency cannot get through. These calls are against the law and offenders will face legal action.  

Q. Who pays for 9-1-1?
A. Every household or business pays a small monthly fee for 9-1-1 service on each telephone line that appears on its phone bill. There is no per-call charge for calling 9-1-1.  In Henry County the monthly service fee for residential lines is $0.65 per month and the service fee for business lines is $2.00 per month. Cellular phones are charged $1.00 per month in which $0.25 stays local and $0.75 goes to the state 911 office.

Q. How can people who are deaf or speech/hearing-impaired call 9-1-1?  
A. People who are deaf or speech/hearing-impaired should have access to a TTY/TDD (Teletype/Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) in their home. The 911 Center has special TDD Equipment for responding to calls from these systems. If someone needs to use a TTY/TDD to call 9-1-1, he/she should:

  • Place the phone receiver in the TTY/TDD and dial 9-1-1.

  • After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times to notify the dispatcher that the call is being transmitted with this system – this may help shorten the response time to the call.

  • When the dispatcher is connected to his/her TTY, he/she will respond/type "GA" for "Go Ahead."

  • Type what the emergency is – as well as your name, phone number and the address where the help is needed.

If a deaf or speech/hearing-impaired person doesn't have a TTY/TDD, he/she should call 9-1-1 and simply leave the line open. With most calls, the caller's address is displayed on the call-taker's screen and help will be sent.  

Q. How can a non-English speaker use 9-1-1?
A. A dispatcher can add an interpreter from a service called Language Line. In this situation, a non-English speaking caller will hear the dispatcher briefly speaking to an interpreter as well as some clicking sounds on the line before the interpreter addresses the caller. It is important for the caller to remain calm until the interpreter is on the line.  

Q. What is the difference between Basic 9-1-1 and Enhanced 9-1-1 Service?
A. Basic 9-1-1 Service - a dispatcher at the 9-1-1 Center must obtain the nature of the emergency and its location by speaking with the caller or receiving the information via TTY/TDD.

Enhanced 9-1-1 Service - the dispatcher at the 9-1-1 Center has access to a display that shows the caller's phone number and address.

Q. How is Wireless 9-1-1 service being implemented?
A. Phase 1 - The dispatcher will automatically receive the phone number as well as the location of the cell tower handling the call. This information is critical in the event that the phone call is dropped so that the dispatcher can work with the wireless company to identify the caller/subscriber.

Phase II - The dispatcher will receive the caller's phone number as well as his/her location via latitude and longitude coordinates. Information on cell phone 9-1-1 operation, click here.

Q. How many calls are made to 9-1-1 annually?
A. Each year approximately 200 million calls are made to 9-1-1 in the U.S. According to the FCC, one-third are wireless calls; in many communities, it comprises one half or more of all 9-1-1 calls. In 2009 in Henry County, 8,595 calls were made to 911.

Q. Does 9-1-1 Know Where I Am If I Call From A Landline Phone?
A. Yes, when a 9-1-1 call is received from a landline, the address, telephone number, and name of the business or resident is automatically received.

Q. Does 9-1-1 Know Where I Am If I Call From A Cell Phone?
A. No.  Certain cell phones have GPS chips in them, but not all do.  While the 9-1-1 center has the capability to locate your position via GPS, it is not always correct.  Also if the caller has an older telephone there may be no GPS chip installed inside the phone, therefore only giving the 9-1-1 dispatcher the cell tower the caller is closet to.

BE SURE TO GIVE THE 9-1-1 DISPATCHER THE ADDRESS, AN INTERSECTION OR CLOSEST
LOCATION YOU CAN WHEN CALLING FROM A CELL PHONE.

Q. Can Children Use 9-1-1?
A. Yes.  We have had very young children call 9-1-1.  Teach your children that calling 9-1-1 is not a joke.  Prepare them for calling.  Make sure they know their address and phone number.

Q. Why Do 9-1-1 Dispatchers Ask So Many Questions When I Call?
A. When someone calls 9-1-1, they have to get your address, name and telephone number incase you lose contact with them.  Although most, if not all information is automatically sent to 9-1-1, but on occasion it may be wrong.  It is important to answer all questions the dispatcher asks.

Q. What Does The 9-1-1 Dispatcher Ask When You Call?

  • What the emergency is.  This allows the dispatcher to determine if you are in need of law enforcement, fire, or medical attention and to get you the best response in the quickest amount of time possible.
  • Location and nearest cross street of the emergency.  This allows the dispatchers to provide the closest responders to find you in the quickest and most efficient manner.
  • Name of caller.  This allows the dispatcher to provide the responders a contact person’s name for when they arrive at the scene.
  • Phone number of caller.  This allows the dispatcher a number to call back in the event the conversation is disconnected and vital information still needs to be retrieved.
  • When the incident occurred.  This allows the dispatcher to properly prioritize calls for the quickest and most efficient response.
  • Number of vehicles involved (if applicable).  This allows the dispatcher to inform responding emergency agencies so they can send the appropriate number of emergency personnel.  It also helps the dispatcher determine other available resources that may be needed.
  • Anyone injured? Trapped? (if applicable)  This also allows the dispatcher to inform responding emergency agencies so they can send the appropriate number of emergency personnel.  It also helps the dispatcher determine other available resources that may be needed.
  • Number of people involved.  Again, this allows the dispatcher to inform the responding emergency agencies of the situation.  It helps determine the needed resources and is essential in helping the dispatcher prioritize the call.

Q. Why Do I Have To Give My Address And Phone Number?  Don’t The 911 Computers Give That Information?
A. Our Enhanced 911 (E-911) equipment does provide a great deal of information to the 911 dispatchers.  This information is provided with the assistance of the local telephone companies.  As with any computer system, errors in data processing can occur making it essential for the 9-1-1 dispatcher to always verify the caller’s information.

It is also important to remember that an incident does not always occur where the caller is at, thus 9-1-1 dispatchers must verify exactly where the emergency responders need to go.  There are also times when callers have moved, but kept their phone numbers and their address may not be updated yet.  This is especially the case when dealing with Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone service.  Always be sure you have updated your account information with your phone service provider.

Q. What about VOIP?
A. Many people are turning to the internet for affordable phone service.  However, at the present time VOIP solutions do not offer enhanced 9-1-1 capabilities.  In fact, some services may not even offer 9-1-1 access.  Check with your provider before you switch to VOIP.

Q. What else do I need to know?
A. There are many common sense rules to remember, like not having all cordless phones or VOIP phones, because they won’t work if your power fails.  Some VOIP phones have battery backups attached.  Be sure to check with your provider.  Also, don’t program 9-1-1 on a speed dial on any of your telephones, but especially not on cellular phones because it can easily be dialed accidentally and tie up valuable resources.