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​Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Question Mark IconAre all answering points prepared to answer calls from people using a TDD to communicate on the telephone?
    Answer:

    ​Yes. Each answering position is equipped with a TDD that is integrated into the telephone system to make the connection and communication fast and efficient. Telecommunicators are also required to have regular training in the operation of the TDD and communications with the deaf and hearing impaired.


  • Question Mark IconCan I text 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    ​Yes. Palm Beach County citizens can now text to 9-1-1 during a life threatening situation or emergency. Please visit our text-to-911 page for more information.


  • Question Mark IconCan I use my voice carry over telephone or VCO to call 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    ​Yes. The 9-1-1 equipment has the ability to go back and forth between listening to your voice and typing a reply on the TDD. Telecommunicators are also trained to communicate with those calling on a VCO.


  • Question Mark IconHow can I teach my child when to use 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    ​Teach them to call 9-1-1 when there is no adult around they need a policeman, fireman or paramedic. Examples might be; when an adult cannot be awakened, when an adult instructs them to call 9-1-1, if there is fire or smoke and no one else is home, etc.


  • Question Mark IconHow do I know if I have a real emergency?
    Answer:

    ​An emergency is when immediate police, fire, or medical assistance is necessary to protect life or property.


  • Question Mark IconHow do personal alarm systems work with 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    ​A personal alarm does not use the 9-1-1 system at all. When the user pushes the button on the pendant, an alarm company is called. These companies will then contact the emergency agency on lines set aside for the alarm companies. This means that 1) there is no selective routing of the call to the appropriate agency, 2) the location and telephone number must be provided by the alarm company and 3) the lines set aside for alarm companies generally are answered after the 9-1-1 lines are answered.


  • Question Mark IconHow is the 9-1-1 fee collected?
    Answer:

    ​The fee is collected from each telephone customer on their telephone bill. The telephone company remits its collections to the State of Florida E 9-1-1 county who remits it back to the County after taking a share for fund administration, 3% to assist small counties in the state and 30% of wireless collections to reimburse wireless carriers for their 9-1-1 related expenses.


  • Question Mark IconHow will 9-1-1 know where I am?
    Answer:

    ​Technology today can show the 9-1-1 operator the location and phone number that you are calling from whether you are calling from home, work, or a cell phone on the freeway.  Cell phones send a GPS signal to the cell tower that is transmitted to the PSAP and will display your location for the operator. 


  • Question Mark IconIf I accidently call 9-1-1 should I hang up?
    Answer:

    ​No, stay on the phone and let the call-taker know that it was a mistake. Also remember to place your cell phone in the "Lock or Key lock" mode so that you do not inadvertently dial 9-1-1.


  • Question Mark IconIf I am using a telecommunications device for the deaf TDD, do I need to do something special when I call 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    ​No. The equipment and people are trained to recognize incoming calls from TDD callers. To speed up the connection process, the caller can tap the space bar or some keys which will automatically activate a reply from the 9-1-1 equipment.


  • Question Mark IconIs there an alternative to personal alarm systems?
    Answer:

    ​You might consider wireless or cellular telephone service. Some wireless providers offer service for as low as $20.00 per month. Wireless phones have become as small as some of the pendants and give two-way communication in an emergency. Another alternative might be a wireless phone that is not connected to a wireless provider called a non-initialized phone. Although there is no cost to this alternative, call-takers cannot call you back if you get disconnected.


  • Question Mark IconShould I dial 9-1-1 if I have a non-emergency?
    Answer:

    ​No, do not dial 9-1-1 for non-emergency situations. For non-emergency situations such as noisy neighbors or delayed incidents such as a burglary or theft that may have occurred hours or days before, use the non-emergency telephone number listed in your telephone book.


  • Question Mark IconShould I hang up and help or stay on the line?
    Answer:

    ​No! Never hang up until you are told to do so. If you hang up and redial, you will go to the end of the line of people waiting for service. It may be frustrating for you, but we will need you to stay on the line until we advise you that it is all right to hang up. Be patient if we seem to ask a lot of questions. There are certain things that we must know before we can provide you with the services you need.


  • Question Mark IconShould I have my personal alarm system dial 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    ​This is not recommended. The most important reason for this is, if you are not close enough to the base station, there will not be voice communication to enable the 9-1-1 call-taker to determine what kind of help you need. If the nature of the emergency is not known, it may not receive the response it would if the type of emergency was known


  • Question Mark IconWhat does the fee pay for?
    Answer:

    ​This fee pays for routing of 9-1-1 calls to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), the network to get the call from your phone to the PSAP, the equipment at the PSAP to answer, transfer, and display the callers location, back-up power at the PSAP, voice recording equipment at the PSAP, training of 9-1-1 call-takers/dispatchers, and 9-1-1 system administration. State and Federal law prohibit the use of 9-1-1 funds for anything except what is mentioned above.


  • Question Mark IconWhat if I need help but I can’t get through to 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    ​Keep trying. Most agencies will send someone to investigate to ensure that all is well even if they cannot communicate with you. After the emergency is resolved, report your problem to 9-1-1 Management immediately by voice or TDD/TTY at (561) 712-6486 [If no answer with TDD call (561)712-6342]. We can investigate the problem to determine what measures need to be taken to prevent anyone from having the problem again.


  • Question Mark IconWhat if I need help but I don’t need police, fire or medical?
    Answer:

    ​If you are in doubt as to whether you need a policeman, fireman, or paramedic, call 9-1-1. Many times fire/rescue departments will provide assistance to help an elderly person get back to bed or lift him into a chair but this tie up valuable resources. There are other agencies that can help to prevent these problems.

    Dialing 2-1-1, the Center for Information in Crisis, may be able to direct you to nursing care, assistive devices, even wellness calls to brighten your day.


  • Question Mark IconWhat is Next Generation 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    The evolution technology and of emergency calling beyond the traditional voice 9-1-1 call has caused the recognition that our current E9-1-1 system is no longer able to support the needs of the future. Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) networks replace the existing narrowband, circuit switched 9-1-1 networks which carry only voice and very limited data.

    For more detailed information on the NG 9-1-1 system, click here: http://www.pbcgov.com/publicsafety/911/pdf/NG9-1-1NENADefinitionFinal.1[1].pdf


  • Question Mark IconWhat is the 9-1-1 fee in Palm Beach County?
    Answer:

    ​A $0.40 per telephone number for wireline telephones and wireless telephones. For more specific details please see the Florida Emergency Telephone Act (F.S. 365.171 through 175)


  • Question Mark IconWhat will my child need to know if he or she calls 9-1-1?
    Answer:

    ​As soon as they can learn, they should be taught to give their name, address, and telephone number. They should be told to listen to what the dispatcher tells them, and to follow their instructions as well.


  • Question Mark IconWhy is there a fee on my wireless telephone?
    Answer:

    ​Since your wireless telephone can contact 9-1-1, it is appropriate that your also pay the fee. Determining the location of a wireless caller is very costly and the Federal Communications Commission requires that those involved in providing this capability recover this cost from the customer.


  • Question Mark IconWhy not call the relay service when I have an emergency, they are used to communication with me on the TDD?
    Answer:

    ​The 9-1-1 system automatically directs your call to the department responsible for the location of that telephone. The relay service is located in Miami, FL. and will not know which police, fire or emergency medical services to contact. 2.) The 9-1-1 system will automatically provide the telephone number that you are calling from so that the police, fire of emergency medical services will be able to call you back if the connection is broken. The relay service does not have this information to give the emergency responders to reestablish the connection. 3.) The 9-1-1 system will automatically provide the location that you are calling from so that the police, fire of emergency medical services will be able to respond to the location of the telephone even if you cannot communicate. The relay service does not have this information to give the emergency responders so that they can locate you even if you cannot talk.