Call 911 whenever you see or hear any suspicious activity, feel threatened or feel you are in danger in any way or you need the police to respond. A few other suggestions when to call 911; such as if you observe a person you do not know walking near your home, looking into your windows or walking between houses or looking into your car. Another reason to call 911 is if someone is following you in a vehicle or on foot, or you just want to report a crime. The list goes on. Calling 911 immediately is one of the most important steps you can take. That way, we can investigate the situation as soon as possible. Don’t ever be afraid, nervous, scared or shy when you call 911. The Sandy Springs Police Department needs to know about suspicious activity or crime in your neighborhood so that we may move our resources to that area to work on taking care of the problem.
2. IS A PERSON HURT OR IN DANGER? DO YOU NEED THE POLICE, FIRE OR AMBULANCE?
Have you ever wondered whether you should call 911? Since the Sandy Springs 911 Center (Chatcomm) does not have a non-emergency number, it helps to understand that all calls, emergency or not, are handled by calling 911. This alleviates the decision you have to make, “Is this an emergency or not?” Our operators are well trained and can make the decision if your call requires immediate assistance or to make it a lower priority call.
3. IF YOU DO CALL 911, EVEN BY MISTAKE, DO NOT HANG UP THE PHONE.
911 call takers are trained to get the most important information as quickly as possible to get help on the way to an emergency situation. In an emergency situation, allow the call taker to ask you all the questions they need in order to get help there in the timeliest manner before you hang up or leave the phone. If you happen to call by accident, stay on the line until you can tell the call taker that you called by accident and there is no emergency. This saves the call taker from having to call you back and confirm there is no emergency or sending police with lights and sirens to check your address for an emergency.
4. WHEN CALLING 911 DO YOUR BEST TO STAY CALM AND ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS.
Staying calm can be one of the most difficult, yet most important, things you do when calling 911. It is very important that you stay as calm as possible and answer all the questions the 911 call taker asks. The questions 911 call takers ask, no matter how irrelevant they seem, are important in helping get the first responders to you as fast as possible.
5. HELP THE 911 CALL TAKER HELP YOU.
Listen and answer the questions asked. By doing this, it helps the call taker understand your situation and will assist you with your emergency until the appropriate police, fire or medical units arrive.
6. KNOW THE LOCATION OF THE EMERGENCY.
The wireless 911 caller must be aware that the 911 center that answers the call may not be the 911 center that services the area that the wireless caller is calling from. Look for landmarks, cross street signs and buildings. Know the name of the city or county you are in. Knowing the location is vital to getting the appropriate police, fire or EMS units to respond. Providing an accurate address is critically important when making a wireless 911 call.
7. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO CALL 911.
Be sure they know what 911 is, how to dial from your home and cell phones, and to trust the 911 call taker. Make sure your child is physically able to reach at least one phone in your home. When calling 911 your child needs to know their name, parent’s name, telephone number, and most importantly their address. Tell them to answer all the call takers questions and to stay on the phone until instructed to hang up.
8. PRANK CALLS TO 911 WASTE TIME AND ARE ILLEGAL IN GEORGIA.
Be sure all members of your household are aware that prank or harassing calls to 911 will be dealt with by local law enforcement agencies.
9. POST YOUR ADDRESS CLEARLY AND PROMINENTLY AT YOUR ENTRANCE AND ON YOUR HOME.
Posting your address at the driveway entrance and on your home will alleviate any confusion as to whether emergency responders have the correct location. Try using something reflective or illuminated so that it can be seen in the evening as well as during the day. DO NOT ASSUME SINCE YOUR MAILBOX IS MARKED YOU HAVE POSTED YOUR ADDRESS — mailboxes are not always at the entrance of a driveway and usually are not marked clearly on both sides. Sandy Springs has an ordinance for posting your street numbers on your mailbox. And always report missing street signs when noted — these not only help others find your home but are essential to emergency response personnel.
10. KNOW THE PHONES YOU OWN.
Educate everyone about the phone system in your home as well as your cell phone. Children may need to use the devices in an emergency and will need to know how to operate them.
Freebie: Officers directing traffic. When you see a uniformed police officer, hopefully with a traffic vest, traffic gloves and if needed, a flashlight, directing traffic, please be aware that officer is in charge of that intersection. No matter what the traffic light is showing, you should pay full attention to the directions that the officer is giving you. This is for your safety, the safety of the other drivers and the safety of the officer.
Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.