911 Communications

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Communications Center

The Town of Cary Emergency Communications Center, also known as the 911 Center, is one of 126 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) in the state of North Carolina. The 911 Center answers Emergency 911 and non-emergency calls for Cary around-the-clock. Emergency Communications Officers dispatch police, fire, animal control and after hours public works calls.

When a telephone call is received by the Communications Center either via 911 or on a non-emergency line, the Emergency Communications Officer enters the information into the CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) system. The information is then prioritized for dispatch. The center is equipped with the latest technology in order to maintain the Town's commitment to quality service. The main components include Enhanced 911 , Computer Aided Dispatch , Emergency Medical Dispatch, Emergency Fire Dispatch, Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP), Traffic Camera Monitoring System, Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Text-to-911.

Enhanced 911

Enhanced 911 (E-911) provides Communications Center personnel with immediate address information on a 911 caller calling from a land line or Voice over IP (VoIP) phone. This information is critical in providing immediate emergency services to citizens in need.

Enhanced 911

The system allows the Emergency Communications Officer to record that information immediately in case the caller hangs up before the necessary information has been collected. If that happens, the Emergency Communications Officer can call the person back. If there is no answer, a police officer is sent to the address to investigate. If you call 911 in error, please do not hang up. Stay on the line and explain your situation.

It is important that citizens use 911 for immediate public safety assistance. Non-emergency requests are handled by calling (919) 469-4012.

Computer Aided Dispatch

Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) software assists with the efficient handling of requests for emergency services. The system makes a recommendation of service units to dispatch taking into account the geographic location of the request and the availability of responding units. The system recognizes different call types that require the dispatch of special equipment, provides information on hazards that may be present, and provides for special medical information and call history. Numerous statistical reports are provided to assist management in the proper allocation and scheduling of public safety personnel.

CAD

Emergency Medical Dispatch

The Cary 911 Center was the first in Wake County to participate in the Emergency Medical Dispatch program, which trains Emergency Communications Officers how to provide callers with life saving instructions on various types of medical emergencies, such as how to control bleeding from a laceration, how to free an object from someone's throat, and how to administer CPR.

Emergency Fire Dispatch
Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD) protocol provides our Emergency Communications Officers a standardized method for answering each fire related call in the same manner while identifying the chief complaint and its related scene-safety issues. The protocol selects a response code based on the information provided by callers and allows Emergency Communications Officers to provide easy to follow, step-by-step pre-arrival instructions to our callers. Additionally, this software assists our Emergency Communications Officers to direct callers to improve scene safety for both the caller and responders.

Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP)

This program was developed in order to meet the needs of citizens who require special medical care or who have disabilities. The Computer Aided Dispatch system provides for the entry of special medical information by address to advise responding public safety units. Citizens may call (919) 462-3854 to obtain more information, or email our CAD Administrator, Chris Hegele, at chris.hegele@townofcary.org

Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD)
This device, accessed through the 911 phone system, allows callers with hearing disabilities to seek emergency assistance without delay. Callers can access the Center by typing a request which Emergency Communications Officers receive and respond to by typing replies.

TDD

Text-to-911

As of May 2015, most cellular customers in Cary Town limits can send a short message service (SMS) text message to the 911 Center. Text messages must be free of images and video, and should only be sent when someone is unable to make a voice call due to a medical emergency or out of an abundance of safety, or if the originator is hearing impaired. To send a message, open a new text message and enter “911” in the recipient line. In the message space, be sure to include your location and the nature of the emergency. While texting may be convenient, there can be delayed communication, so it’s best to call 911 when you can and only text when you cannot. Non-emergencies should continue to be reported to (919) 469-4012. Text messages unsuccessfully received by the 911 Center will result in an automated response.

When should you call 911?

Calls to 911 should be reserved for emergencies such as:

  • A serious medical emergency (chest pains, seizures, bleeding, etc.)
  • Any type of fire (structure, vehicle, brush, etc.)
  • Any crime in-progress (robbery, burglary, prowler, fights, etc.)
  • Any other life threatening situations (traffic accident with injuries, etc.).

What happens when you call 911?

In order to correctly assess the situation for a prioritized response, you will be asked certain questions which are vital to the safety of the caller and the responding officer(s).

The Location

When you call 911, the Emergency Communications Officer is automatically provided with the phone number and the location that you are calling from provided that you are calling from a land line or Voice over IP (VoIP) phone. You will be asked to verify this information since quite often individuals call 911 from locations other than where the incident is occurring. If you call 911 from a cell phone, this vital information is not provided. It is very important that you provide the phone number and location to the Emergency Communications Officers when using a cell phone.

The Problem

The Emergency Communications Officer will ask if your emergency is related to Police, Fire or EMS. At this point you should give a quick description of what occurred. Then you will be asked a series of questions which are extremely important to the proper handling of the call. These may include:

  • Is anyone injured?
  • How long ago did the incident occur?
  • Were there weapons involved, and if so, what type?
  • Did the suspect flee, and if so, in which direction?
  • What was the mode of transportation - a car, bike or on foot?
  • If a vehicle was involved, what was the description and what was the direction of travel?
  • What was the physical description of the suspect?
  • What was the clothing description?

Although these may seem like an unreasonable number of questions during an emergency, they are very important to emergency personnel. For example, if a burglary has just occurred and the suspect flees, the officers have a much better chance of apprehending the suspect if they have a good description of the suspect and the direction that was taken. More important, if the incident in question involved a weapon, the life of the officer may depend on the information given.

One common misconception is that Emergency Communications Officers wait until finishing the call before sending help. During a true emergency, the Emergency Communications Officers work as a team. One remains on the line with the caller and passes on information to another Emergency Communications Officer, who dispatches police officers, firefighters or other emergency personnel.

It is very important that you stay on the line during a call to 911. The Emergency Communications Officer will continue to ask you questions while the police are en route.

What should I do if I call 911 by mistake?

If you call 911 by mistake, DO NOT HANG UP. Stay on the line and explain that you do not actually have an emergency. If a caller hangs up without stating the problem, the caller must be contacted in order to ensure that no actual emergency exists. This may involve the dispatching of an officer to your home or place of business in order to ensure that a problem does not exist.

If I need the police, but it's not an emergency, what number do I call?

If you need the police, but for a situation that is not of an emergency nature, please call our non-emergency line at (919) 469-4012. Examples of calls which should be placed to the non-emergency line are:

  • Traffic accidents which do not involve injuries.
  • Loud music or barking dogs.
  • Late reported incidents such as a theft with no suspect information.
  • Requests for information.
  • To report the malfunctioning of traffic signals.

Forms

Request for Audio Recording 
(Please note: Audio Recordings are maintained for 30 days)

Communications Center Contacts:

Center Supervisor, Doug Workman:  (919) 469-7969
Assistant Center Supervisor, Ryan Hargreaves: (919) 469-7968
Shift Supervisor Phone: (919) 460-4920

Request a Police Report: (919) 469-4021
Non-Emergency Line: (919) 469-4012
Emergency Number: 911

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