911 Calling Tips

The University Police Department's Communications Center is staffed 24 hours a day by an Emergency Communications Dispatcher. Among many other duties, the dispatcher answers incoming emergency and non-emergency telephone calls, operates a multi-channel radio system, and performs records and warrant checks, often at the same time.

Cell Phones

In 2010, in compliance with FCC regulations, the University Police Department began accepting wireless calls received directly from most locations on campus. However, cellular calls may still route to the California Highway Patrol or Arcata Police Department. Because of this, it is important to advise the dispatcher of the location of your emergency so they can transfer you, if necessary, to the appropriate agency.

When Calling 911

It is very important to remain calm when calling 911. The dispatchers understand that you have an emergency and are trained to assist you. The dispatcher will ask a series of questions to understand what is happening. They will want to know the following information:

  1. Who - Who is involved?
  2. What - What is happening?
  3. Where - Where is this happening?
  4. When - When did this happen?
  5. Why - Why is this happening?
  6. Safety - Are there any weapons or safety concerns?

The dispatcher will send assistance once enough basic information has been gathered. The dispatcher may want to gather additional information once assistance has been sent. Stay on the phone with the dispatcher until they tell you it's okay to hang up.

The 911 system was developed to provide quick access to help for those who need it. 911 should only be dialed in an emergency. An emergency is when an immediate threat to life or property exists. Some examples of when to call 911 include:

  • Call when there is a physical fight occurring
  • Call when something is on fire
  • Call when you observe a crime in progress
  • Call when somebody is sick or injured

Don't call 911 for the following:

  • Don't call when the power goes out
  • Don't call to test your phone
  • Don't call to check the time
  • Don't call to find out a phone number
  • Don't call and hang up
  • Don't call as a prank
  • Don't call to find out if school is open
  • Don't call for a taxi