911 Education

911 Call Procedure
When you dial 911 within the borders of Summit County, your call will be routed to the Summit County 911 Center; it does not matter what the area code of your cell phone is, your call will be routed to us regardless.

The dispatcher who answers your call is not a police officer. They will need to gather some basic, but very specific information to create an "incident" in a system called Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD). The information that the dispatcher will ask for is the minimum that is required in order to safely get you the appropriate help.

Once that minimum information is gathered, it will be relayed to the appropriate responders who will assist you with your problem. Depending on the situation you are reporting, the dispatcher may or may not need to put you on hold after gathering the basic information, dispatch the appropriate help, then get back on the line with you to gather additional information.

Information 911 Dispatchers Need
What is the most important information required by 911?
911 will not solve your problem but rather is the first step in that process. It is our job to send responders to you, whose job it will be to attempt to solve your problem, whether that be extinguishing a fire, arresting a bad guy, stabilizing a medical condition and providing ambulance transport, etc.

First piece of information:
The first, and most important piece of information that the Dispatcher will ask for is your location; the more accurate you can be, the better. If we don't know where you are, we can't send assistance. Street address, business or condominium name, building number/name, unit #, town name/subdivision name (i.e. 1001 Grandview Drive, Grandview Condominiums, Building B, Unit # in Breckenridge on Peak 8).

Second piece of information:
For medical emergencies: the Dispatcher will ask for the patient age & sex, if conscious, if they are breathing normally, the chief complaint ("the problem"), and what caused the chief complaint; depending on the cause, whether or not there are further safety concerns.
For fire emergencies: the Dispatcher will ask if you smell smoke, if you see smoke then the color and quantity, if you see flames, if there are any injuries, the type of structure, if hazardous materials are present, the number of people inside, and if they can get out. Based on your responses, you may be advised to evacuate yourself and others while ensuring your own safety and to contact fire personnel when they arrive.
For police emergencies: the Dispatcher will ask if weapons are involved, if anyone is injured, suspect descriptions, vehicle descriptions, suspect means and direction of travel, if they have left the scene, if you are safe, the details of the crime/situation. Depending on the situation being reported, additional questions may apply.
For search and rescue emergencies: the Dispatcher will ask where the missing person(s) are believed to be, when and where they were last seen, how long overdue, if there are known injuries, names and descriptions, vehicle descriptions/locations (such as at the trailhead), cell phone numbers, and lat & long coordinates. They will likely have a Search and Rescue Coordinator call you back, especially if you or someone in your party are the ones needing rescuing.

Additional information:
When you are traveling on Interstate 70 and need to report reckless drivers, drunk drivers, and road rage dial *277 (*CSP) on your cell phone and you will be directly connected with Colorado State Patrol.

Proper 911 Call Etiquette
911 is an incredibly abused system, so it is very important that callers understand some basics:

911 is for reporting EMERGENCIES, where there is an IMMEDIATE threat to life/health/or property. For situations which do not fit these criteria, please dial 970-668-8600.

A large percentage of 911 calls are accidental, especially from cell phones. If you dial 911 by accident, DO NOT hang up! We are REQUIRED to callback EVERY 911 "hang-up" that we receive, to determine if in fact there is an emergency. If, when we call back, no one answers and we are able to determine an address associated with the number, a police response will be sent to determine if in fact there is an emergency. When the Dispatcher answers, advise the dispatcher that you misdialed and be prepared to confirm your phone number and location. By staying on the line and advising us that you misdialed, it saves us precious time calling your number back, whether at your home, a business, a hotel, or a cell phone.

How to Prevent False Dialing
More than half of the 911 calls received in the SCCC are calls that were dialed in error.
  • Cell Phones - Use keypad locks, phones with keypad covers, and keep your phone in a hard-case when not in use
  • From Hotels - Dial slowly. If the hotel phone system requires the caller to first dial a "9", wait a few seconds to ensure there is a dial tone before dialing the phone number. Also be aware of the emergency dial button that some hotels have on their phones
  • Teach Your Children the proper use of 911 - Children should understand that 911 is to be used for emergencies only, and they should learn their address and phone numbers as soon as they are able. Children can learn more about 911 during Fire Prevention Week every October at local fire department open houses and at the Safe Summer Kickoff hosted every spring by the Silverthorne PD.

Does the Summit County 911 Center have the ability to sign up cell phones for "reverse 911"?
The Summit County 911 Center has the ability to send voice, text, and email messages to cell phones voluntarily registered through Summit County Alert - SCAlert. When a public notification message is sent out to a given area, a text message and email version of the emergency message will also be sent out, targeting devices pinned within the area.

The best thing a home without a landline can do is sign up for SCAlert. SCAlert is an alert notification system that allows officials to immediately contact you during a major crisis or emergency and can deliver important emergency alerts, notifications and updates to you on all your devices. You can register your cell phone, pager, email address and other devices to receive notifications from the Office of Emergency Management.