Posted at 11:45 a.m.
Sooner or later it will probably happen to you. An emergency strikes and you need an ambulance, fire equipment or police — now.
Don’t waste precious seconds trying to call your local fire or police station. Just dial 9-1-1, by voice or TTY (or text 9-1-1). The 9-1-1 dispatchers have the training to gather the proper information and dispatch all necessary resources for the situation. And although you may be tempted to call friends and family, if you are experiencing an emergency, it’s important to call 9-1-1 first.
This is an especially timely reminder since today is the 50th anniversary of the first 9-1-1 call in the United States. On Feb. 16, 1968, Alabama State Senator Rankin Fite completed the first 9-1-1 call in Haleyville, Ala.
In Fairfax County, 9-1-1 was adopted in 1981. And in 2005, the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) was established after previously being a component of the Fairfax County Police Department.
DPSC, also known as the county’s 9-1-1 Center, is a nationally recognized public safety communications center, the largest in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of the 10 largest in the United States.
DPSC receives approximately 1 million calls per year requesting public safety service and dispatches units of the Fairfax County Police Department, Fire and Rescue Department and Sheriff’s Office. In addition to Fairfax County, DPSC is the designated 9-1-1 public safety answering point for the towns of Herndon and Vienna and the City of Fairfax located in the county.
Fairfax County 9-1-1 is an accredited 9-1-1 center for emergency medical dispatch with the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services. The county’s 9-1-1 Center also is a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 9-1-1 Call Center Partner.
The county’s 9-1-1 Center and its employees — the First of the First Responders.
Posted at 10 a.m.
Today is the anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and in Shanksville, Penn. on Sept. 11, 2001 that killed almost 3,000 people and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage.
As we remember those tragic events and the lives lost — along with the heroic efforts of the first responders and others who leaped into action to help — Deputy County Executive for Public Safety (and former police chief) Dave Rohrer talks about the experience of that day as we reflect on this 13th anniversary of 9/11.
9/11 Memorial Grove
The 9/11 Memorial Grove, located on the grounds of the county’s Government Center is an open space that provides a place to remember and reflect. Feel free to stop by and visit today — or anytime you want to take a moment for reflection.
The grove was the first U.S. memorial commemorating the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to be built on public space involving federal and local government collaboration with the community in an area where residents were personally affected by the tragedy through loss of life or participation in rescue efforts. It was designed by National Park Service landscape architect and Fairfax County Tree Commissioner Michael McMahon.
Posted at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 11, marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorists attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 men, women and children.
By presidential proclamation, Americans are called on to participate in a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to honor the victims who died as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Flags should also be displayed at half-staff in honor of the individuals who lost their lives.
You may also wish to observe the day with ceremonies and activities, including remembrance services. Visit USA.gov’s 9/11 Commemorations and Memorials to learn about:
- Memorials in New York, NY; Washington, D.C.; and near Shanksville, PA.
- Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
- Photos, recovered objects and eyewitness accounts from 9/11.
- Emergency preparedness efforts.
The county’s Memorial Grove, located on the Government Center grounds, is also a space where you may want to take a moment and reflect.
Remember to observe a moment of silence Wednesday, Sept. 11, starting at 8:46 a.m. and take steps during National Preparedness Month to build — or re-supply — your emergency supply kit, make a plan for your family and business, and commit to stay informed.
Posted 3:42 p.m.
But in a high-stress situation, do you know what information is needed? Is your home clearly marked. Do you know the public safety non-emergency phone number?
Here are a few tips to consider when calling 9-1-1:
- Use 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
- Stay calm and help the call taker help you.
- Determine the location of the emergency, if possible, before you call.
- Texting 9-1-1 is NOT an option; you must dial 9-1-1 and speak with a call taker.
- Teach your children how to call 9-1-1.
- Do not give old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still dial 9-1-1.
- If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the call taker that you do not have an emergency.
- Post your home address clearly and prominently so first responders can find you.
- Pull over when driving, if possible. This reduces the chance of a dropped call.
- Tips for non-English callers and hearing or speech-impaired callers.
We receive more than 1 million 9-1-1 calls a year. Hopefully you don’t have to call, but if you do, make sure it’s an emergency. If you’re not sure, call 9-1-1, but if it’s clearly a non-emergency, then call the non-emergency number.
THE ASK: 9-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number, but you can help reduce unnecessary calls if your situation is not an emergency. This weekend, add a new contact to your phones for the public safety non-emergency number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711.
TELL US you’ve done this:
- Post a quick reply in this blog’s comments section below such as “I’ve done this.”
- Use the Twitter hashtag #fairfaxprepares and tweet your accomplishment. Include photos if you’d like.
- Like our special Facebook page for this campaign to leave comments and share tips with your friends.
- Email us at email@example.com that you accomplished an ask.
SHARE THIS TIP:
- Click the links below to email, share on social media or print a hard copy. Thanks!
Posted 2:10 p.m.
Steve Souder, director of the Department of Public Safety Communications, discusses the telecommunications outages that affected the 9-1-1 Call Center after the recent storm.