911, What is the Location of Your Emergency?

By Chief Jim Heavey

911, what is the location of your emergency? This is the first question you will be asked when you dial 911 in Greenwich. Last year, 911 and our other, non-emergency telephones rang over 100,000 times. When an emergency occurs, the prompt response of police officers, firefighters, and paramedics/EMTs is critical to the protection of life and preservation of property, and our Public Safety Telecommunicators make that happen.

A crew of 16 highly trained dispatchers answer the call 24/7 to help you with both emergencies and non-emergency incidents. They are the lifeline of our police officers, firefighters, and paramedics/EMTs who depend on the quality and accuracy of information obtained from citizens who telephone the Greenwich Emergency Communications Center. Not only do they relay critical information, but they are also trained in Emergency Medical Dispatching (EMD) so that they can give instructions over the phone to help bystanders initiate medical assistance until the arrival of first responders.

Last year, the police department responded to over 42,897 calls for service. Greenwich EMS responded to over 4,100 calls for medical assistance, and the fire department responded to over 4,300 calls. For every one of these calls, the dispatchers coordinated the response to assure the proper personnel and equipment responded in a safe and timely manner. They also coordinate with other town departments like public works, parks and recreation, and human services to support you and our first responders. When warranted, they link in other agencies such as the American Red Cross, utilities, and other support personnel. Public Safety Telecommunicators are the first and most critical contact our citizens have with emergency services and are themselves first responders.

The Greenwich Police Department Communications Center has the capability to capture information immediately from a phone on which the caller is dialing 911. In situations where a child or a frantic person calls for assistance, the system will display the name, location, and telephone number of the caller.

We remind you to save 911 for actual emergencies and crimes in progress so that we can get first responders to you as fast as possible. If you have a non-emergency matter, you can call (203) 622-8000 and they will assist you.

Every year during the second week of April, the telecommunications personnel in the public safety community are honored. This week-long event, initially set up in 1981, is a time to recognize and thank those who dedicate their lives to serving the public.

We want to recognize all our public safety dispatchers and remind the residents of Greenwich this week and every day for their hard work and dedication. These Greenwich Public Safety Telecommunicators have contributed substantially to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires, and treatment of patients. Each dispatcher has exhibited compassion, understanding, and professionalism during the performance of their job every day.

Jim Heavey is a Greenwich native and has served as Chief of the Greenwich Police Dept. since 2011.

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