Making 911 and 9-911 Calls at
By Robert Reek
In the past, 911/9-911
calls made from SLAC phones could not be traced to the location of the
call. This was potentially dangerous for anyone who might be alone in an
emergency and unable to respond to questions, preventing emergency
personnel from locating the victim or emergency.
Recently, however, SCS
has provided new technology that allows SLAC Safeguards and Security
(now monitoring the fire alarm system) to locate the phone from which a
911/9-911 call is made. If the caller does not respond to the
dispatcher, Security’s policy is to dispatch an officer who can then
direct fire and other emergency personnel to the exact location.
But with this added
protection comes added responsibility. To ensure that an emergency
response is not initiated unnecessarily, whenever you call 911/9-911
please stay on the line to give complete information to the operator.
The following is an example of what can happen when a 911 call is
received with a hang up and no additional information is available.
On July 14, 2004, SLAC
received a 911 hang-up call from a phone in the tunnel between CEH
(Bldg. 750) and the north adit. The person making the call left the
scene and did not provide any additional information. Security and Palo
Alto Fire Department (PAFD) Engine 7 responded to the location
identified by Security personnel using the new system. Upon entering the
tunnel, the Engine 7 fire crew’s gas detector indicated elevated levels
of hydrogen sulfide, forcing the crew to retreat. Without knowing
exactly what they had (a fire, rescue or both), the engine captain
requested additional personnel and equipment.
When backup arrived,
the crew put on their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA),
reentered the tunnel, and conducted a search of the entire tunnel area.
They discovered there was no fire or rescue situation.
Although it is
comforting to know that SLAC can depend on a quick and thorough response
from the PAFD, in this case it was unnecessary. The department was
forced to dispatch equipment and 11 personnel to handle a fire and
rescue, including a battalion chief, two engines, one truck and a rescue
trailer. This meant they were unavailable to respond to other
So to avoid tying up
emergency resources and possibly endangering others, if you make a
911/9-911 call, stay on the line. If you must leave the scene for any
reason, please contact the operator or Security as soon as possible and
advise them of the extent of the emergency. If you dial a 911/9-911
operator by mistake, please remain on the line and advise the operator
of the mistake to avoid unnecessary emergency response.
If you have any
questions about 911/9-911 procedures, please call Safeguards and
Security (Ext. 2551) or the SLAC Fire Marshal (Ext. 4509).