FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2017

 PEMA Provides Tips for Calling 9-1-1, Recognizes 9-1-1 Telecommunicators

 Harrisburg, PA – The 9-1-1 system in Pennsylvania handles over nine million calls annually from those in need of emergency response from law enforcement, medical, and fire services. PEMA Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. stressed the importance of this vital emergency system, and those who keep it working every day

“The 9-1-1 system in Pennsylvania is usually the first point of contact in emergency situations.” said Flinn.  “We rely on these trained individuals to be prepared and watchful 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The continued safety of our families, our neighbors, and visitors in Pennsylvania depends upon Public Safety Telecommunicators.  These men and women contribute to saving lives every single day in Pennsylvania and are a vital part of the first responder community.”

Because of the open-face design of most mobile phones today, it is common to accidentally place a call to a friend, family member, or even 9-1-1. If you dial 9-1-1 by mistake, or if a child in your home dials 9-1-1 when no emergency exists, please do not hang up – that could make public safety telecommunicators think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.

In addition, during emergencies and times of high call volume, remain on the line even if it seems as though it’s taking a long time for your call to be answered. Hanging up the phone requires telecommunicators to take extra steps to try to re-establish contact, which can delay assistance. Never call 9-1-1 as a prank or for general information needs as such to report power outages or request weather or roadway reports.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is honoring all telecommunicators who answer 9-1-1 calls in Pennsylvania during National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week April 9 – 15.

In 2016, 2,700 telecommunicators in the 69 public safety answering points (PSAPs) in Pennsylvania answered over nine million 9-1-1 calls. National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week provides special recognition to the efforts and contributions of 9-1-1 telecommunicators to public safety.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week was established by the United States Congress in 1991 to recognize emergency telecommunicators as the vital link between the public and emergency responders.

“This week is a time for us to show our appreciation and to recognize that our safety in emergency situations is often dependent on the commitment, courtesy, and professionalism of public safety telecommunicators,” Flinn said.

For more information on 9-1-1 programs in Pennsylvania, including a map showing where Text-to-911 Service is available, visit PEMA online at www.PEMA.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT:    Ruth A. Miller (PEMA), 717-651-2009; ruthmiller@pa.gov

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