The Town of Billerica uses an Enhanced 911 system. An Enhanced 911 system adds the ability to display the caller’s address and telephone number at the PSAP ( Public Safety Answering Point) for the dispatcher’s reference. This information is displayed almost instantly.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when using the Enhanced 911 system:
Dial 911 only for an emergency. An emergency is any serious medical problem (chest pain, seizure, bleeding), any type of fire (business, car, building), or any life-threatening situation (fights, person with weapons, etc.). We also encourage citizens to use 911 to report crimes that are in progress.
Do not dial 911 for a non-emergency. Instead, use the departments regular numbers:
A non-emergency incident is a property damage accident, break-in to a vehicle when suspect is gone, theft of property (when suspect is gone), vandalism (when suspect is gone), panhandlers, intoxicated persons who are not disorderly, or cars blocking the street or alleys. Calling 911 because you are lost and need directions is not an emergency.
If you dialed 911 in error, do not hang up the telephone. Instead, stay on the line and explain to the dispatcher that you dialed by mistake and that you do not have an emergency. If you hang up, a dispatcher will call back to confirm that there is no emergency. If you don’t answer, a police officer must be dispatched to confirm that you are OK. This will needlessly take resources away from genuine emergencies.
Briefly describe the type of incident you are reporting. For example, “I’m reporting an auto fire,” or “I’m reporting an unconscious person,” or “I’m reporting a shoplifter.” Then stay on the line with the dispatcher, do not hang up until the dispatcher tells you to. In some cases, the dispatcher will keep you on the line while the emergency units are responding to ask additional questions or to obtain on-going information.
If you are calling to report a fire the dispatcher will transfer your call to the Billerica Fire Department, stay on the line while the call is transferred. The dispatcher who answers will need information about the incident.
Be prepared to describe your location and the location of the emergency. Although an Enhanced 911 system will display your telephone number and location, the dispatcher must confirm the displayed address or may ask you for more specific location information about the victim or suspects.