How 9-1-1 works

9-1-1 is actually a sophisticated call forwarding system.  When a caller dials 9-1-1 the telephone network recognizes the call as an emergency call and routes the call to the proper answering point, then collects the associated street address or coordinates and forwards that information to the correct Public Safety Answering Point. 

Wireline 9-1-1 Calls

Calling 9-1-1 from a traditional wireline phone is the most reliable way to assure your 9-1-1 call will be completed having accurate location information.

Wireless 9-1-1 Calls

Currently 89% of our 9-1-1 calls are wireless and the percentage is growing.  Wireless calls are more difficult to process than wireline calls due to slow call set up time, signal loss, caller mobility, and lack of location knowledge by the caller.

Proper jurisdictional routing is also more difficult for wireless 9-1-1 calls.  If your call is placed near a parish border, it is possible for your call to be misrouted to an answering point outside of the jurisdiction of the incident.

Wireless Location

Ouachita Parish implemented wireless location in 2006.  Wireless carriers use tower triangulation and Global Positioning Systems to locate 9-1-1callers. Triangulation is more accurate in areas with a dense network of towers and GPS is preferable in areas with a sparse tower network. The location coordinates are gathered and sent along with the call to the 9-1-1 center.  A geographic display of the caller’s locations is displayed shortly after the call is answered.

Alternative 9-1-1 Communication Methods

  • VoIP phones can reach 9-1-1 but the user must keep address information current for proper routing.
  • 9-1-1 coin phone calls are free.
  • PBX calls may require a ‘9’ prior to 9-1-1 to get an outside line.
  • Discarded wireless phones can access 9-1-1. Be aware of this when children are playing with discarded charged wireless telephones.
  • Texting to 9-1-1 is operational in Ouachita Parish but we recommend a telephone call to 9-1-1 if possible.  SMS texting is not always immediate and location information is not provided by most carriers.
  • Telematics (OnStar) and several other telematics providers are operational.

How to Call 9-1-1

Just press the numbers 9-1-1 and you will be connected with the 9-1-1 Call Center.  You can access 9-1-1 from residential, business, wireless, cordless, coin, VoIP or TDD telephones. 

When to Call 9-1-1

Call 9-1-1 when you need immediate response from the Police, Fire or Ambulance Service.

What do I say when I call 9-1-1?

When your call for help is answered, you will be speaking with a trained Telecommunicator eager to assist your needs.  Be able to describe the nature of your emergency and the location in terms of address, intersection or highway mile marker.  When the nature and location of the emergency is determined you will then be transferred to the appropriate response agency.  Stay calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions as clearly and concisely as possible.  Please stay on the line until the dispatcher releases you unless remaining on the telephone endangers you.

Can you be located in an Emergency?

If you are involved in an emergency and need immediate assistance, it would be beneficial to know the emergency response agency can locate you as quickly as possible.  In an emergency, you may be unable to give the emergency responders directions to your emergency.  That is the prime reason we have an Enhanced 9-1-1 System, with unique street addresses for each structure in the Parish.  Enhanced   9-1-1, compared to basic 9-1-1, displays the wireline caller’s name, address, and telephone number to the 9-1-1 call-taker.  Wireless call location coordinates and callback numbers are displayed to the call-taker.  Location accuracy is usually within a 100-yard radius.

In order for the Enhanced 9-1-1 system to function as planned you must consider these points:

•           Is your address display correct and clearly visible at all times from all directions?

•           When calling 9-1-1 do you know the street name and cross street or mile marker of the location of the emergency?

Unintended 9-1-1 Calls

At least 45% of the 9-1-1 calls received are unintended. New cell phone features facilitating 9-1-1 calls are creating an increase in accidental 9-1-1 calls. You may want to disable these phone features to prevent accidental 9-1-1 calls.  If you do misdial and are connected to 9-1-1 please stay on the line and explain that you misdialed.

Children are very special to those of us working in emergency services.  However, children can be a problem as well if they are not taught the proper use of the 9-1-1 System. 

Children as young as three years old have been taught the proper use of 9-1-1.  We urge parents to instruct children on the proper use of 9-1-1.

If you need advice or would like to have a group educational program please contact our office at (318) 322-3970.