Home - Government - Police Department - Administration Section
About 9-1-1 Calls


In an emergency, 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers to send help quickly
and efficiently 
using the City's computer-aided dispatch program.


  • Stay calm. Don't get excited. Take a deep breath.
  • Dial 9-1-1 right away. Don't wait for someone else to call.
  • Tell the person who answers the phone exactly what is wrong.
  • Tell them the exact address where help is needed. Be sure to give them the FULL address, including any apartment number, suite number, etc.
  • Tell them the phone number you are calling from.
  • If you are not at the same address as the emergency, tell them the address where you are.
  • Tell them your name.
  • DO NOT HANG UP until the person on the phone tells you to do so. They may need to ask you for more information to help the fire, police or ambulance find you. The dispatcher will ask you specific questions to gather specific details about the event, such as:
    • "What are you reporting?"
    • "Where did this occur?"
    • "What is the phone number you are calling from?"
    • "Where are you now?"
    • "Are there any weapons involved?"

  • A citizen dials 9-1-1 in an emergency situation.
  • The caller's telephone provider automatically routes the call to the appropriate public safety agency.
  • A 9-1-1 operator receives the call. If the call is from a non-cellular phone, the caller's name, address and telephone number appears on the computer screen. The 9-1-1 operator confirms the information; asks the caller about the emergency and assigns it a priority. While questioning the caller, the operator sends the information via computer to a fire or police dispatcher.
  • The dispatcher receives the information about the emergency and confirms the priority rating assigned by the 9-1-1 operator. In Alhambra, the highest priority, "1," is for life-threatening situations or major fires. The lowest priority, "3," is for issues such as parking enforcement. The majority of calls for service are classified as priority "2". These calls tend to be the reporting of crimes that have occurred, and the suspect is no longer at the location.
  • Police vehicles are equipped with Global Position System (GPS) technology. Their locations are transmitted to the dispatch and 9-1-1 computers every 30 seconds. Location information then is transmitted to laptops in the vehicles. Each unit, represented by an icon, shows on the dispatch computer, much like a game-piece on a board.
  • When police or fire units respond to an emergency, the address of the caller is displayed on a computer map in the communications center. The computer suggests to the dispatcher which nearest vehicle to call for service. The dispatcher, who can override the suggestion or go with it, assigns the call with the click of a mouse.
  • The police or fire unit receiving the call will see the address on a laptop screen. With a touch to the screen, the officer can view a map showing the most direct route to the caller. From the map, firefighters can determine what type of fire-hydrant hookup they will need at a particular site.
  • When the emergency has been taken care of, the police or firefighter can clear the scene via the laptop and be ready for the next service call.
  • When you dial 9-1-1, the system directs your call to a public safety dispatch center. This includes telephone lines from residences, businesses, pay phones, cellular phones, VoIP, TTY, TDD, and Telematics. These public safety dispatch centers are operated by your local police, fire or sheriff's department and staffed by highly-trained personnel.
  • It is important that you stay on the line and tell the dispatcher what help is needed and where it is needed.
  • Dispatchers are trained to ask you what questions that are helpful in determining which agency should respond and how quickly. By answering these questions, you are helping them provide the best possible response.
  • There are no charges for dialing 9-1-1 to request assistance, but there may be charges for services provided, such as ambulance transportation. Those charges could result regardless of the number dialed.
  • You can dial 9-1-1 from a pay phone without depositing a coin.
  • If you have a cellular phone, you can dial 9-1-1 and your call will be answered by a dispatcher. There is no charge for dialing 9-1-1 from a cellular phone.
  • If it is not a life-threatening emergency, look up the seven-digit number for the agency in the phone book. Alhambra's non-emergency phone number is 626-570-5151.
  • All police, fire and emergency medical services will respond to your needs as quickly as possible. If these agencies are busy, a response will be provided in the order of urgency.
  • When you travel, check the local phone book for dialing instructions on pay phones to find out if 9-1-1 is available. Teletype for the Deaf (TDD) users need to press the space bar after dialing 9-1-1.
  • If you have VoIP service, make sure that your registered address is current. If you move, or travel, realize that your call will be routed where you have registered your phone.



Related Link
Copyright ©2018 City of Alhambra
All rights reserved
Home   |   Government   |   News   |   Residents   |   Business   |   Community Life   |   About Us
Agendas & Minutes   |   News