Many of you may have seen that WCCCA, Washington County 9-1-1 is starting a campaign on “You Called 911 for That?!” where they are posting the most crazy call of the week on their Facebook page and Twitter account.
9-1-1 does receive nuisance calls on a daily basis and I’m sure CRESA could add more than a few to the list. In fact, the Canadian “Vancouver” to our north recently posted a list of the top 10 most absurd 9-1-1 calls.
Within the social media comments on KGW-TV; however, CRESA noticed an important question about why CRESA does not currently have a non-emergency number for the public to call. That is an excellent question and the answer has a lot to do with technology. Unlike the 911 lines, our current phone system does not provide caller name, address or call back number on our business lines. Because we feel it is important to have that information no matter if it’s an emergency or non-emergency and because the same people who answer our 911 lines would also be answering our non-emergency line, we have chosen to have all calls for police, fire and medical come in on our 9-1-1 lines.
We acknowledge this is not a perfect plan and we intend on establishing a non-emergency number with the replacement of our telephone system sometime later this year. With our new system we expect to have a non-emergency line for our citizens to call that will provide caller ID. As we work on this very important project we will keep our community informed.
What is important to know right now is that, when there are multiple simultaneous 911 calls, the very first question you may hear in Clark County is “Is This an in-progress Emergency?” If you do not have an emergency, say “no” immediately. This allows us to triage the call so that emergency calls are prioritized over non-emergency calls. If you are calling about a non-emergency and we have other 911 calls, you may be placed on-hold until all emergency calls have been taken.
CRESA is always looking for creative ways to educate and inform people about our 9-1-1 services. If you have ideas on how to positively get these messages across, please let us know. We are stronger and smarter and better together!