9-1-1 is the three-digit telephone number that has been designated for public use throughout the United States to report an emergency and to request emergency assistance. This same number is used irrespective of whether the emergency requires a response from law enforcement, fire, medical services or any combination of these emergency service agencies. Ideally, nearly every American or visitor to this country, who has access to a telephone, may summon aid by dialing this simple three-digit number, regardless of location, familiarity with an area, time of day or type of emergency.
Dutchess County has an Enhanced 9-1-1 system. This added benefit means when a caller dials 9-1-1, the address and phone number of the telephone called from is displayed on a screen at the County’s 9-1-1 center or at our backup - the City of Poughkeepsie. Automatically identifying the location of a caller is key to providing a quick response to those in need.
How Enhanced 9-1-1 Works
With Enhanced 9-1-1 a citizen’s telephone call is instantly routed to the County’s E-9-1-1 Center; unless the call was initiated from the City of Poughkeepsie, in which case the call goes directly to the City’s Dispatch Center. From the time the call arrives a series of events happen in quick succession:
The moment the 9-1-1 land-line call is answered by the call-taker, the address, phone number, the name of the residence/business and other information is displayed on a screen known as an Automatic Location Identifier( ALI). This information is particularly useful in hang-up situations, because the call-taker can call back the number and/or send a unit to the identified address. Cell phones are a bit different. Read more about how cell phone calls to 9-1-1 are handled.
After the connection is made to the caller, the dispatcher then obtains the necessary information needed to dispatch the appropriate agencies, whether it be an ambulance, the fire department, police, or some combination of service providers. 9-1-1 callers do not have to know which municipal service responds to the location they are calling from, as the County’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system uses the address from the 9-1-1 ALI screen along with the nature of the emergency, from the caller, to automatically determine the proper agency and units to send.
While the call-taker continues to gather information from the caller, a second 9-1-1 staff member, a dispatcher, sends the proper units the address of the emergency.
In 1999, the Dutchess County Legislature created the Enhanced 9-1-1 Oversight Board. The resolution stated the board should meet on a bi-monthly basis or more frequently if necessary and make recommendations to the Department of Emergency Response for the call taking and dispatching operation of the E-9-1-1 Communications Center. The board will also act as the hearing and decision board for any conflicts, investigations and problems that may arise from a procedural application by the E-9-1-1 Dispatch Center.
The Oversight Board is made up of approximately 15 appointed individuals from various groups including citizens, fire districts, EMS, police agencies, County Executive and Department of Public Works Highway Division representatives, municipal leaders, and members of the Dutchess County Legislature.
The Board currently meets quarterly on the fourth Monday of the month.