What you need to know when calling 911

April 14, 2020

No one wants to call 911, but if you need to phone for help there are a few things you should know to make it easier.

Knowing your location can be the most important thing to have on hand when calling 911.

“It will be difficult for us to send you help quickly if we are unable to locate you”,” said Sarah, a Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) Senior Communications Operator.

Parents are encouraged to remind their children of their addresses so they know where they are calling from in the event they have to phone 911.

Sarah also said it is best if the person calling 911 is with the person needing help. She said sometimes relatives will call from a different location which makes it difficult to get accurate information.

Try to stay calm

“The big one, and it is a big ask, is to try to stay calm,” said Ben, a WFPS Communications Operator.

Ben said it is important for people to also know what number they are phoning from in the event the call gets disconnected.

“We ask the question hundreds of times a day and often time people tell us they are calling from their house or cell phone and they don’t actually give us the number,” he said.

911 is there to help you

If you need of help, call 911. Kara, a Winnipeg Police Service Call Taker, said people have called the non-emergency line when they should be calling 911 instead.

“That is what we are here for,” she said.

How 911 works

When you phone 911, the call is initially answered by the Winnipeg Police Service and is then triaged to determine the best emergency service to respond.

“First, they will ask you your address and then what is the nature of the emergency,” said Kara.

Depending on the emergency, the call will either be transferred to the WFPS Communications Centre or stay with police.

If the call is transferred to the WFPS Communications Centre, employees there will continue to ask questions so the best help can be dispatched.

“When you call, you will speak with a highly-trained telecommunicator skilled in medical dispatching and fire dispatching protocols,” said Chad, Supervisor at the WFPS Communications Centre. “A lot of the work they do is not seen by the public, or even the members in the field, and they work really hard together to make sure everyone is getting the help they need.”

Providing comfort

When answering 911 calls, employees never know what is on the other side. Sarah said what makes a good 911 operator is the ability to have empathy.

“Being able to give a little bit of help and comfort in a moment of crisis just feels really good at the end of the day,” she said.

Originally posted on April 15, 2019

Emergency and Safety Celebrating City Staff

Was this information helpful?

How can we make this web page better?

Information collected will be used to improve our website. Do not use this form to submit a request for service or information because it will not be forwarded to departments for response. To submit a request for service or information, contact 311.

This form is not intended to collect personal information; however, any personal information you choose to include in your comments is collected by the City of Winnipeg under the authority of section 36(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of improving our website and will not be used or disclosed for any other purposes, except as authorized by law. Contact the Corporate Access and Privacy Officer by mail (City Clerk’s Department, Susan A. Thompson Building, 510 Main Street, Winnipeg MB, R3B 1B9) or by telephone (311) if you have any questions about the collection of this information.

Ces renseignements sont-ils utiles?

Comment pourrait-on améliorer cette page Web?

Les renseignements recueillis serviront à l’amélioration de notre site Web. Prière de ne pas se servir de ce formulaire pour soumettre une demande de service ou de renseignements, car la demande ne sera pas transmise au service en question. Pour soumettre une demande de service ou de renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec le 311.

Le présent formulaire ne vise pas à recueillir des renseignements personnels. Cependant, les renseignements personnels que vous choisissez d’inclure dans vos commentaires sont recueillis par la Ville de Winnipeg en conformité avec l’alinéa 36(1)b) de la Loi sur l’accès à l’information et la protection de la vie privée dans le but d’améliorer son site Web et ne seront ni utilisés ni divulgués pour d’autres raisons, sauf dans les cas où cela est autorisé par la loi. Communiquez avec l’agent de l’accès à l’information et de la protection de la vie privée de la Ville par courrier au Bureau du greffier, immeuble Susan-A.-Thompson, 510, rue Main, Winnipeg (Manitoba) R3B 1B9, ou par téléphone au 311 si vous avez des questions sur la collecte de ces renseignements.