9-1-1 and You How It Works Best

911 is a familiar telephone number. Nationwide, it is used as a quick, toll-free way to access police, fire and paramedic services. When you dial 9-1-1, the system is designed to provide a useful packet of information that is relayed to dispatchers a a public safety answering point.

From a “Hardwired” Telephone

If the telephone you are calling from is “hardwired” (including cordless telephones where the telephone’s base is “hardwired” ) into a house, business or payphone, an information packet containing the address, phone number and details such as the apartment number or business name is displayed at the answering PSAP which provides services to that area. Since location is the single most critical detail in any emergency, this aspect of the 9-1-1 phone system is what makes it so useful in meeting public safety needs.

From a Cellular Telephone

Cellular phones are different and present a new challenge to 9-1-1 systems. In the San Francisco Bay Area, all 9-1-1 calls from cellular phones are presently routed to the California Highway Patrol Communications Center in Vallejo. Additionally, the information packet that they receive contains only the cellular telephone number. This also means the “location information” cannot be relayed automatically, since a cell phone is mobile. CHP dispatchers must determine the location of the emergency from information the caller provides, and if appropriate, transfer the caller to the proper local jurisdiction.

If you are using a cellular telephone and know the local telephone number of the police or fire department that serves the area, dial the Direct Emergency Telephone Number. Dialing direct will save time and will eliminate the possible delay of being funneled through the very busy CHP center in Vallejo. Also remember, when dialing from a cellular phone, you will have to be precise in describing the location where help is needed.

The direct Dial Emergency Telephone Number for the Areas Serviced
by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office are:
From the 408 area code: 299-3233 From the 650 Area Code: 1-408-299-3233