Introduction to Erie County, PA 9-1-1
Thank you for visiting the Erie County, Pennsylvania 9-1-1 Center website. We encourage you to review the following information to learn more about us, how to contact us with your comments or concerns, to review 9-1-1 public education, and how to request further information on a call placed to 9-1-1.
Through this introduction to 9-1-1, we encourage you to become more knowledgeable about calling 9-1-1, what happens when you call 9-1-1, when to call the non-emergency dispatch number, and our dispatch procedures.
All Erie County, Pennsylvania 911 Telecommunications personnel are recognized as Call Takers by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), and obtain 560 hours of training before being assigned as a call taker. This education is obtained through a combination of classroom and on-the-job training with a Certified Training Officer. Additionally, all Telecommunications staff is certified in the use of the International Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch, International Academy of Police Dispatch and the International Academy of Emergency Fire Dispatch protocol system(s).
Erie County 9-1-1 is an emergency communications and dispatch agency staffed with 9-1-1 telecommunicators serving as law enforcement and fire/EMS dispatchers, Certified Training Officers, 911 Shift Commanders, CAD administrators, 9-1-1 managers, GIS technical staff, and radio communication specialists.
Erie County 911 is one of the three agencies within the Erie County Department of Public Safety, which covers Emergency Management, 911 and Information Technology. All three entities are critical to the safety of the citizens of Erie County, Pennsylvania.
What should I do, when I call 911?
Every second counts during an emergency. It is vital to understand the information that needs to be provided to the 9-1-1 call taker to get help quickly during a fire, medical emergency, or a crime.
When you call 9-1-1, you will be asked to provide your location (including City, Borough, or Township), your name, phone number, and a description of the incident. Be prepared to provide details of the emergency situation. The 9-1-1 call taker is trained to ask the necessary questions to obtain the details of the emergency from you to determine the appropriate public safety response. Be patient, remain calm and speak clearly while the 9-1-1 call taker asks you questions.
Listen closely and follow all directions provided by the call taker. The 9-1-1 call taker has been trained to provide lifesaving instructions while you are on the phone, prior to the arrival of responders. Depending on the situation, the call taker’s instructions may include how to perform the Heimlich maneuver for choking, how to control bleeding, telling you to secure yourself in your house, or to take other actions to prevent harm or injury.
Do not hang up until the call taker instructs you to do so. The questions that are being asked and the lifesaving instructions that are being provided do not delay the dispatch of the police, fire, or EMS units.
When call volume into the 9-1-1 center is extremely high and the number of calls exceeds the number of 9-1-1 call takers to answer the phones, you may reach a recording. If you dial 9-1-1 and reach a recording, do not hang up. Stay on the line and your call will be answered.
If you hang up before talking to the 9-1-1 call taker, the call will still be delivered to a call taker in the 9-1-1 center. When a 9-1-1 call taker is presented with a hang up call, the call taker is required to call back and confirm that there is no emergency at your location.
Erie County 911 answers 9-1-1 calls for one (1) municipal police department that dispatches their own police units. When 9-1-1 calls are received requiring police response within this area (Millcreek Township), the call taker will transfer the call to the appropriate municipal police department dispatch center. Calls requiring the Pennsylvania State Police will be transferred to the appropriate barracks for dispatch.
Please be patient during these transfer processes, and be prepared to repeat information about your location, telephone number and a description of the emergency situation.
What happens when I call 911?
The Erie County 9-1-1 center processed more than 130,000 calls for service in the last year. All calls into the 9-1-1 center are processed by highly trained professional 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers.
The same staff members answering 9-1-1 calls also answer calls to the non-emergency dispatch number as well as calls reporting burglar, fire, medical and carbon monoxide alarm activations.
When a 9-1-1 call is received at Erie County 9-1-1, the 9-1-1 call taker will begin by asking for the address of the emergency. Address information is essential to ensure help is sent as quickly as possible should the call become disconnected or the caller is unable to continue speaking.
The caller will be asked to confirm that the address is in Erie County to verify the accuracy of the information provided through the automatic location information technology transmitted by the telephone service provider. This questioning includes asking the caller the name of the city, borough, or township in which the emergency is occurring. The 9-1-1 call taker will also verify your phone number, by asking you to repeat it. This ensures the proper phone number is recorded, so we have a method of re-contacting you, should your call be disconnected. Call takers will ask the nature of and details of the emergency situation. As soon as the 9-1-1 call taker has determined the location and type of emergency, the initial information is entered into the Computer Aided Dispatch (or CAD) system. This information is instantly sent to the dispatcher’s computer workstation, so the dispatcher can send the appropriate help.
Erie County 911 “What To Know In An Emergency Card”
The 9-1-1 call taker will keep asking questions to gather information about the situation and will pass the information along to the dispatcher via the CAD computer. While the caller is talking to the 9-1-1 call taker and answering questions, the dispatcher will review the new information and update the emergency personnel on the way to the scene.
The 9-1-1 call taker asks questions that are designed to produce a safe, appropriate public safety response in the least amount of time possible. At no time do these questions cause a delay in the response nor does it cause a delay in obtaining critical information.
Remember, the call-taker’s questions are important to get the right kind of help to you quickly. Do not hang up until the call-taker instructs you to do so.
How is my call dispatched?
When an emergency occurs and public safety assistance is required, the trained staff working in the Erie County 9-1-1 Center will ensure the timely and accurate dispatch of Police, Fire, or EMS personnel to the scene of the emergency.
When 9-1-1 call takers receive calls reporting an incident requiring public safety response, they enter the basic information into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. The call for service information is routed to the appropriate dispatcher for processing. When the incident is displayed on the dispatcher’s console, the CAD system will recommend units to respond to the incident, based upon the geographic area and established responses.
Updates from the 9-1-1 call taker and information received from field personnel are entered into the CAD system to provide a full picture of the situation to the dispatcher to pass on to field units. The questions that are asked by the 9-1-1 call takers help the dispatchers determine whether additional units are required or if an enhanced level of response is required.
Erie County 911 law enforcement and fire/EMS dispatchers dispatch the appropriate units to incidents, typically via radio. The radio system provides interoperability with the public safety first responders to ensure coordinated efforts between public safety agencies and seamless communication with the dispatchers. Should an emergency situation occur with a responder, the dispatcher is able to send immediate assistance or support to the officer, EMS staff, or firefighter in need.
The time it takes for a first responder to arrive on the scene of an incident after the call is answered in the Erie County 9-1-1 Center depends on several factors; these include weather conditions, how far the unit is from the incident, and how busy the responding agency is at the time.
Police / Law calls for service are prioritized based upon incident type and whether or not the incident is still in progress. As a result, there may be a delay in response while units respond to higher priority, in-progress calls or until a unit becomes available in the area.
9-1-1 should only be used to report an emergency situation. If you need to request the dispatch of public safety first responders to a non-emergency situation, dial the non-emergency dispatch telephone number for your area.
When used properly, calling the non-emergency dispatch number allows emergency 9-1-1 calls to be processed quickly while allowing the 9-1-1 center to efficiently process non-emergency, non-urgent situations that require the dispatch of law enforcement.
The same people answering calls to the non-emergency dispatch number are also responsible for answering 9-1-1 calls. As a result, there may be a delay in answering calls on the non-emergency dispatch number. Please be patient if there is a delay, the hold time for non-emergency dispatch calls is usually brief.
The non-emergency dispatch number should be used to report an incident that requires the response of law enforcement personnel to a non-urgent, non-emergency situation. For example, the non-emergency dispatch number may be used to report a crime that happened in the past and there is no suspect, to report loud music or a loud party, or there are cars blocking the street or your driveway.
Click here for a list of non-emergency phone numbers
Contact Information / Forms (Hyperlinks)
Communications Inquiry Form
9-1-1 For Kids (Educational Materials)
9-1-1 Resolution Form
9-1-1 Telecommunicator Observation Program