What is 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is the three digit telephone number which is used to report an emergency or to request emergency assistance. This emergency telephone number makes it faster and easier to reach Police, Fire and Ambulance services.
Oxford County has implemented the Enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Response System. The difference between "enhanced" 9-1-1 and "basic" 9-1-1 relates to the fact that the enhanced system will display the civic address of the 9-1-1 caller on a computer screen at the emergency service dispatch centre. If voice communication is cut off for whatever reason, police can still be dispatched to the call location.
Because 9-1-1 will now be available to access, police, fire, and ambulance, the old emergency telephone numbers will eventually be taken out of service. People are advised to remove any reference to these numbers, including removing them from their programmable phones.
In most cases, people who are on a 2 party line system will receive the enhanced 9-1-1 service. However, it is recommended that you contact your local telephone company to confirm if this applies to your phone. People who are serviced by a 4 party line service will receive the basic 9-1-1 service meaning that the computer screen cannot display their location. The person making the 9-1-1 call will have to provide the dispatcher with their location. However, the municipal address will greatly assist in pinpointing the location of callers on a 4 party line system.
How does 9-1-1 work?
All 9-1-1 calls in Oxford County will be answered at a common location called a C.E.R.B. which stands for Central Emergency Reporting Bureau. In Oxford County, our C.E.R.B. is located in the Woodstock Amalgamated Dispatch Centre at the Woodstock Police Headquarters.
The computer located at the C.E.R.B. picks up the property location information associated with 9-1-1 calls and transfers this information with the 9-1-1 call. It is the ability of the system to link telephone numbers with, property locations, which makes the 9-1-1 system 'Enhanced'.
The C.E.R.B. is operated on a 24 hours per day, 365 days per year basis. It acts as the hub and the gate keeper for the 9-1-1 system, receiving all calls and directing them to the appropriate emergency response agency.
The people who answer the 9-1-1 calls are referred to as Call Takers. When a Call Taker receives a call through the 9-1-1 system, a computer screen in front of them displays the telephone number, municipality, and municipal address of the caller, if available. The Call Taker asks the caller if they require Police, Fire, or Ambulance assistance. Depending on the caller's response, the Call Taker then selects the appropriate button for Police, Fire or Ambulance and transfers the call.
The computer responds to the selection made by the Call Taker and routes the telephone call to the appropriate agency depending on the information associated with the telephone number. Once the Call Taker has made the connection and hears the caller and the dispatcher at the emergency service talking, the Call Taker disconnects from the conversation, freeing up the 9-1-1 for another call.
If the caller is disoriented or cannot properly communicate with the Call Taker, the Call Taker will listen for clues as to the type of emergency and the appropriate agency which should be contacted. For example, if a child using the system were to say the Call Taker "My mommy can't breathe! this would be an indication to the Call Taker that Ambulance assistance may be required and would act accordingly. If no response is received from the caller, the appropriate police department is dispatched immediately.