Understanding the Difference Between 911 and Requesting Non-Emergency Services

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Cases of inappropriate use of 911 in non-emergency situations are common in the US, and this often leads to consequences. When you are in an emergency, you can call 911 to get help from the fire department or police. If you’re not in a life-threatening situation, you should know how to make 911 non-emergency calls. Therefore, it is important to know when to call 911 and find non-emergency numbers to get appropriate assistance for a specific challenge. Read on to learn everything you want to know about seeking emergency and non-emergency services.

Do’s and Don’ts of 911

  • Ramifications of Making Non-Emergency Calls to 911
  • Understanding a True Emergency
  • How a Monitored Smart Home Security Reaches Emergency Services
  • Dealing With False Alarms
  • How Unmonitored Smart Home Automation System Works
  • Call Non-Emergency
  • Bottom Line

Ramifications of Making Non-Emergency Calls to 911

Some people deliberately call 911 for the sake of fun, but this action comes with consequences you may live to regret. The service is specifically meant for real emergencies, so if attention is given to false alarms, resources will be wasted. This can also impact the response time for genuine matters requiring assistance. Therefore, intentionally making false calls to 911 is a crime that attracts stiff penalties and jail time.

For example, a 29-year-old Tampa man in Florida was convicted for calling 911 and asking for sex from the operator and making other obscene remarks. Police arrived at his house, arrested him 15 minutes later, and he was sent to jail on a $1,500 bond. If someone continues to misuse 911for more than four times, they will be charged with Felony Misuse of 911, a crime punishable by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of $5,000.

The 911 systems use GPS to pinpoint your location using the details associated with the number used for the call. When you accidentally call 911, stay online, so you can talk to the dispatcher and explain that it’s a mistake. This will help the service providers avoid wasting resources and focus on real issues that require immediate assistance. Understanding that 911 is a critical service will help you use it responsibly and avoid unnecessary legal ramifications.

Additionally, some people believe that 911 dispatch centers are staffed with multitudes of operators waiting for calls from the public, but this is not the case. These centers usually have fewer operators than you might imagine. Most 911 centers across the US are understaffed, so you should know the implications of abusing these critical services. In smaller towns, these centers are manned by fewer responders who often work overtime. Therefore, learn to be considerate and avoid unnecessary repercussions.

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Understanding a True Emergency

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Commerce that runs the 911 program, an emergency is a life-threatening situation that requires immediate assistance from the fire department, ambulance, or police. For instance, you can call 911 when you encounter the following scenarios:

  • An accident where someone is injured
  • A crime unfolding
  • A fire

Medical emergency for a condition that requires immediate attention

However, even if you are not sure about what constitutes an emergency, other situations warrant the involvement of police or fire department although they might not be emergencies. People partying and making noise in the neighborhood is not an emergency. Only call 911 when you are in a situation requiring immediate assistance.

Not all emergencies receive the same priority even when they warrant a call to 911. For example, property crimes or minor traffic accidents discovered long after they have occurred do not require urgent police response. Therefore, you should know how to call non emergency police if you’re involved in a minor accident. Once you call for assistance, you should wait for police to attend the scene even when there are no injuries.

If other emergencies arise while you’re still at the accident scene, you need to call an ambulance. If the situation is manageable and does not pose a threat to anyone, you can call a non-emergency number at your respective municipality. When you call this number, you will get an administrative response where officials will ask specific questions regarding the incident. The information is specifically meant for record keeping.

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How a Monitored Smart Home Security Reaches Emergency Services

In some cases, you might not be able to call for immediate help when you’re under siege, or you might not be aware that there is a problem that requires urgent attention at your home. Fortunately, your safety will be guaranteed when you have a monitored smart home security system. For example, a professionally monitored security system provided by CornerStone Protection can alert emergency services when there is a problem at your property. The good thing about this security system is that it is monitored by professionals 24/7. When the people virtually monitoring your property observe something fishy taking place, they will immediately alert the emergency services to assist.

When you install a security alarm system at your home, you’ll enjoy peace of mind because it will be monitored by professionals. CornerStone security systems consist of video cameras and different types of sensors including window and door sensors, motion sensors, and glass break sensors that can quickly detect trouble at your place.

The professionals monitoring your property will receive a signal if any of the sensors is triggered. You will also get a notification via your devices, and the monitoring service tries to contact you when the alarm system is triggered. If you’re out of reach, the monitors will call for help. Therefore, wherever you are, security will always be guaranteed at your home.

If you have smart cameras installed at your property, you can get real-time feeds from your device so that you know what’ll be happening at your place. If there is an emergency, you can call 911 and provide the authorities with data obtained from the cameras so they prioritize your call.

Dealing With False Alarms

Although a security alarm system is an effective method of protecting your property and preventing crime, you should know that it comes with its downsides. For instance, false alarms are a cause for concern and they are usually caused by environmental issues or user error. False alarms distract neighbors, and police might end up wasting their time by responding to erroneous signals. As a property owner, one thing you should know about false alarms is that they attract fines, so you must prevent them at all costs.

The good thing about the CornerStone Protection security system is that it is designed to reduce the cases of false alarms to 911 communication centers and law enforcement. The Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) service is an effective method of reducing false alarm dispatches, and it can benefit alarm users, members of the community, and first responders. Instead of sending an alarm signal to a monitoring station, an ECV system first verifies the alarm before alerting the police via 911 to dispatch a team that will attend the scene. Having an ECV alarm system shows that you’re a responsible citizen and it protects you from fines that can be caused by false alarms.

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How Unmonitored Smart Home Automation System Works

If your home security system is not monitored by the service provider, you can link it with your mobile device so you get all alerts when sensors are tripped due to environmental factors or there has been an intrusion. Once you get an alert on your phone responsible for calling the non-emergency number 911. You might not be sure about the exact situation taking place on the ground, so calling responsible authorities will help you get the ideal assistance. If you cannot be reached or you’re incapacitated, you will not get help if you fail to respond to the alert sent to your mobile device.

Call Non-Emergency

Instead of calling 911 every time, you should have a phone number for non-emergency provided by your local municipality. For example, if you’re traveling, you may not be able to dial 911 and get local dispatchers that operate in and around your home area. You should call your municipality’s 10-digit number so you can get transferred to the 911 center. You’ll be then redirected to the dispatcher in your area who can attend the scene. This means that you should know your local agency numbers for non-emergency matters. Additionally, 311 is commonly used for non-emergency calls across the US. Your city or county may also provide other non-emergency numbers you can use when you need assistance.

Bottom Line

In different places across the US, 911 is reserved for emergencies, while 311 and other numbers provided by municipalities are used for non-emergency matters. If you find yourself in a life-threatening situation, you should call 911. However, you should know when to dial this number to avoid penalties. Fires are common in Kentucky and Lexington areas, but you should know how to call the fire department for non-emergency. With CornerStone Protection monitoring service, you can get an alert on your mobile device if there is a fire outbreak at your home. If you are not available during an emergency, a professionally monitored smart security system will call for assistance.

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CornerStone Protection

Based out of Lexington, Kentucky, CornerStone Protection has years of experience protecting and helping others. Clients come from Winchester, Elizabethtown, and other parts of Kentucky as well as Charleston, West Virginia. Shannon Stone retired from the City of Winchester Police Department and realized locals needed better security. CornerStone Protection took a new approach to the field, using his experience to help clients find the right products and equipment. Clients now get help every step of the way.

Learn more about the best security solutions for a home or a business with a call to CornerStone Protection at (859) 353-6020 or send us a message online.


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