Capt. Ricky Harlowe
Lt. Mikki Quinones
Asst. Division Commander
In December 1991 the Houston County 911 Center opened and in June 1996 the Houston County 911 Center became a division of the Houston County Sheriff's Office.
To receive emergency and non-emergency calls from Houston County citizens and dispatch the appropriate agency to the appropriate location in a professional and timely manner.
Serves 10 different agencies: 4 Law Enforcement (3 city police departments, Sheriff), 4 Fire (3 city fire departments and county fire - Houston County Emergency Management Agency HEMA), Emergency Medical Services (ambulances), Robins AFB.
Houston County E-911 operates as a central dispatch for all of Houston County. This means that all (emergency and non-emergency) official contact with any police, fire, or medical unit must be requested through the E-911 system. Communication Officers are no longer located at the individual agencies; they are consolidated within the 911 center.
"E" stands for Enhanced 911. This gives the center the ability to determine the exact location of the call. All calls are recorded and a printout is also maintained. If you have not called 911 to verify your address and telephone number, feel free to do so to ensure a proper response. The "E" in not dialed.
Did You Know?
E-911 service is available at all pay phones with no charge required.
If you call and have to hang up for whatever reason, our dispatchers will call you back to ensure your safety.
If you are in trouble and cannot talk, and do not wish for a call back, leave the line open and a police unit will be dispatched to your location.
When you are in a crisis situation, stay calm, and answer the Communications Officers questions. The quicker the dispatcher can evaluate the situation, the quicker help will arrive. Understand that as soon as the urgency of the situation is determined by the dispatcher, the unit is notified and is already on the way, yet the dispatcher will continue to ask questions to better inform the unit en route to your location. Human nature has it that in a state of panic or distress, we all lose a certain degree of control. This is intensified when we are in a situation when we must speak with a nameless, faceless person on the other end of a telephone. It is our Communications Officer's job to provide that control, while reassuring the caller and assessing the situation.
There are four (4) initial questions our Communications Officers are required to ask prior to dispatching a medical or rescue unit:
- What is the primary complaint (e.g. chest pain, allergic reaction)?
- Is the person conscious?
- Is the person breathing?
- What is approximate age?
These questions will assist the Communications Officer in determining whether the ambulance should respond as Code 1 (non-emergency), or Code 2 (emergency). With hundreds of calls a day, a determination must be made to the seriousness of the response in order to protect the lives of the ambulance crews and pedestrians in the event of a Code 2, which requires speeding through intersections and busy traffic.
Helpful hints for 911 callers
- If possible, don't hang up until the dispatcher is through talking with you.
- If the patient is on medication, have the medicine out for the paramedics.
- Write down the name and phone number of his/her doctor.
- Remember, the paramedic is on the way immediately after the Code 1 or Code 2 is determined, the rest of the questioning is to better prepare the paramedics upon their arrival.
- Help the paramedics identify your location (e.g. turn lights on, flag down). Also make sure your house is well marked with your house number (e.g. big numbers, numbers on both sides of your mailbox).
- If it is a crime related call, give the Communications Officer as much information as possible (e.g. description of a person - race, sex, hair color, shirt/pants color, approximate height/weight). The direction of travel, time of incident, armed or unarmed, how many violators involved, any injuries, what was the make/model/color of vehicle, etc.
- If it is a fire related call, give location (e.g. address, nearby roads, buildings, or landmarks), size of the fire, what type of fire (e.g. grass, house, vehicle, woods, electrical, chemical), if in a structure - where in the house (kitchen, a bedroom, etc.), is anyone trapped inside, any injuries.
Reality Check: Remember "911" is simply a phone number. It is not a response. Each call is handled based on a caller needs and on the number of police, fire, and medical units available at the time of the call.
If you have a cellular phone, please help be the "extended eyes and ears" of Houston County, If you see any situation that looks like it might need a medical, fire, or police unit, please call 911. There will be no charge to your phone.
Additional Services Offered through the 911 Communication Center
Telephone device for the Deaf/Hearing Impaired (TDD) machine: This machine is similar to a computer, encodes messages into beeping sounds which are sent over the phone lines to be received and displayed by another TDD machine. We have five TDD machines at the 911 communications center.
RUOK Computer: A computer system that offers senior citizens and home bound persons in our community the protection and feeling of safety inspired by a phone call on a daily basis, checking their welfare.
AT&T Language Line: Language service through AT&T to translate any language barriers that the dispatchers may encounter. This service is offered to all Public Safety personnel through the 911 communications center.
We welcome any groups that are interested in touring the 911 Communications Center. We will go out and speak to the community as to our capabilities.
Anytime the schools would like us to speak, we welcome the opportunity to educate students on 911. The public is welcome to call the non-emergency phone line 542-9911 to schedule a tour of the 911 Communications Center.