Clarion County 9-1-1 was the very first 9-1-1 Center to open in Pennsylvania. The Center has been in existence since April 17, 1973. Since the opening, the Center, has been, and is located at 421 Madison Road, Clarion, PA. In 1994, Clarion County 9-1-1 moved to enhanced 9-1-1 which provided the ability to show the caller's address information on a screen for the dispatchers to view. On April 4, 2006, Clarion County 9-1-1 moved into a newly remodeled room adjacent to the room that previously housed the 9-1-1 Center. The new remodeled room provided a new phone system, new workstations, and other equipment options to assist the dispatchers with processing 9-1-1 calls. The remodel and the new equipment was a much needed application to prepare for future technology which will enhance cellular call processing and cellular location identification.
Clarion County 9-1-1 currently employs 9 full-time dispatchers and 5 part-time dispatchers. 9-1-1 operates 24 x 7, 365 days per year. Clarion County 9-1-1 shifts are 12 hours. Training is very extensive and each dispatcher must complete 790 hours of training to meet County and State certification requirements.
During 2007, Clarion County DPS implemented a CAD (computer aided dispatch) system which allows all calls to be processed and documented electronically. In addition, Clarion County DPS implemented software which allows the dispatchers to provide pre-arrival instructions for Fire and Police. Clarion DPS has been doing the medical instructions for several years. The new technology also provided a means to locate cellular callers on our new mapping system.
Future goals of Clarion County 9-1-1 is to keep up with the technology and move forward to next generation 9-1-1 which will enable the dispatcher to process emergency calls from technology that is greatly advanced such as text messaging and video. The first and foremost goal is to provide excellent service to all residents of Clarion County and to the individuals who travel through the County that may encounter an emergency.
9-1-1 & Cell Phones: Critical Facts & Tips
Many people are making the decision to disconnect their home phone and move their home telephone to their cell phone. If you decide to use only a cell phone, keep these important tips in mind:
- A typical home or work phone gives 9-1-1 call takers an exact location. Cell phones with location technology only provide an approximate location.
- Typically only larger metropolitan areas have updated 9-1-1 equipment and technology. Many 9-1-1 centers across the nation are NOT equipped to receive location information. If you are in an area that has implemented location technology and you have an outdated phone, your location information may not be received by the call taker.
- Choose your phone wisely. Your life could depend on it. Research your decision and know the benefits and limitations of the phone service prior to making a commitment or signing a contract.
- Always know your location and be ready to give directions to the 9-1-1 call taker using cross streets, mile markers, landmarks, city and county names.
- Always know your cell phone number.
- Tell the 9-1-1 call taker what the emergency is.
- If your call is disconnected dial 9-1-1 again and let them know you were disconnected.
When Should You Call 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is only to be used ONLY in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency you should call 9-1-1. It's better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.
DO call 9-1-1 when:
- Heart attack or stroke
- House fire
- Domestic violence
- Burglary or theft in progress
- Car accidents
- Suspicious activities
- Anything else that seems like an emergency!
DO NOT call 9-1-1...
- For information
- When the power is out
- To report a broken fire hydrant
- When your water pipes burst
- To get a ride for doctor's appointment
- For paying tickets
- For your pet
- As a pranks a prank
NEVER PRANK CALL 9-1-1!
It's a prank call when someone calls 9-1-1 for a joke, or calls 9-1-1 and hangs up. If 9-1-1 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need. In most places, it's against the law to make prank 9-1-1 calls.
Tips for VoIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol) Phone Users
- Verify that you can access 9-1-1 with your phone. Check your service provider's Web site for emergency calling features. Links for some providers are found on this Web site.
- Be sure to keep your registered location current with your VoIP provider.
- If the power is out, your VoIP service may be out too. Consider purchasing a back up power supply.
- If you travel with your VoIP adapter, be sure to update your registered location with your service provider. The time it takes to process the update can vary considerably. Therefore, when traveling, if you need 9-1-1 service, use another phone.
- Inform children, babysitters, and visitors about your VoIP service.
- Post your address and call back phone number near your phone.
- It is a good idea to know what police, fire or sheriff's department is responsible for your 9-1-1 call and have their phone number on hand to provide to the call taker.
- Consider keeping a land line phone for accessing 9-1-1 emergency services.
- Burglar alarms, fax machines, satellite TV, and DVRs often rely on analog modems. Check with your VoIP provider to determine if their service supports analog modems.
FAQ Regarding VoIP Services & 9-1-1
- Can I dial 9-1-1 from my VoIP phone?
You can reach emergency assistance by dialing 9-1-1 on most VoIP phones. However, there are important differences between some VoIP 9-1-1 emergency dialing and traditional 9-1-1 service from a standard phone. It is important to familiarize yourself with these differences. Often the 9-1-1 call taker will not have a display of the number you called from or your location. In addition, your call may arrive at a remote private call center or a non-emergency line, without a display of your location.
- How do I know what level of 9-1-1 Service I have with my VoIP phone?
You need to research the features of your VoIP service as it pertains to emergency dialing by accessing the service provider's web site. Links for many of the providers are found on the Links page of this Web site. Search provider's Web sites for "emergency calling". Once you are aware of the 9-1-1 limitations, you need to notify all potential users of the phone (spouse, children, babysitters, etc.).
- How is my 9-1-1 call routed to the correct location?
When you sign up for VoIP you must register your location. In order for 9-1-1 emergency dialing to work properly, the service address of file for you MUST correspond to the physical location of your VoIP phone. This will enable your VoIP service provider to identify your 9-1-1 call center. You cannot specify a P.O. Box.
- What if my 9-1-1 call is misrouted to the incorrect 9-1-1 answering point?
If your VoIP 9-1-1 call is not routed to the correct 9-1-1 call center, you should tell the call taker the city, county and state where you need help. The call taker can attempt to transfer your emergency call to the correct call center. It is a good idea to know what police, fire or sheriff's department is responsible for your 9-1-1 calls and have their 10-digit phone number on hand to provide the call taker.
- Does 9-1-1 know where I am when calling from my VoIP phone?
It depends. The first information you will need to provide or verify for the 9-1-1 call taker is your location, name, and telephone number, especially if the emergency service personnel does NOT have this information available automatically. When this occurs, your call goes to a remote private call center or non-emergency line at the 9-1-1 center, which is different from how traditional 9-1-1 calls are routed to an emergency call center.
- Can I call 9-1-1 from my VoIP phone when I'm traveling?
Your VoIP provider may offer the ability to travel with, or move your VoIP service to take advantage of any location with broadband internet access. Your VoIP service provider should offer at least one way to update your registered location. However, the time it takes to update or make any changes to your registered location varies greatly. If you relocate your VoIP phone on a temporary basis, such as taking it with you when you go on a trip, don't use it to get emergency help. Use another telephone to dial 9-1-1.
- What if my 9-1-1 call is disconnected or cut off?
Unlike traditional 9-1-1 service, the 9-1-1 call taker may not be able to call you back if you are disconnected. They may not have access to your phone number. If you are disconnected, hang up and dial 9-1-1 again.
- Will power outages affect my VoIP phone?
They may. Just as your regular cordless phone will not work without power, your VoIP phone may not work without power either. As a result, you may be unable to make any calls, including those to 9-1-1 during an electrical power outage. Similarly, you may not be able to make 9-1-1 calls from your VoIP phone if your broadband or cable service provider has an outage or if any other service disruptions keep you from being able to make any outbound call.
- Do I need to notify someone if I move?
Yes. When you move, you must update your registered location on your service provider's web site. It may take several days to update your record.
- Should I keep my traditional phone line after I subscribe to VoIP service?
Yes. 9-1-1 industry leaders recommend that you keep your traditional phone line in addition to your VoIP phone service in order to successfully access 9-1-1 services and to have telephone access during a power outage.
- Do I need to tell anyone in my family that I have changed our phone service?
Yes. It is very important that all persons that live in your home understand the differences in emergency calling with your new VoIP service. Children and babysitters always need to be educated on how to call 9-1-1 in an emergency. You might want to post your phone number and address by the phone for easy access.
- Will my home/business security monitoring service work with my VoIP service?
It might, but it might not. Check with your VoIP service provider to see if they support analog modem traffic such as burglar alarms, fax machines, DVRs (digital video recorders), such as Tivo.
- Can I make a 9-1-1 test call from my VoIP phone?
It depends. Before doing so, please contact your 9-1-1 call center on their non-emergency line. Confirm that you are in their 9-1-1 jurisdiction and then ask if you can place a test 9-1-1 call. Many 9-1-1 call centers will comply with this request as long as they are not too busy with other emergency calls at the time. They may ask you to place your test call at a certain time.