Dispatch has received a couple of calls from people for clarification on the best number to call. I thought I would write to clarify the best process.
If you have an emergency, call 9-1-1. You may get another agency, but you will also get a trained professional with the training to talk you through a number of emergencies helping you when seconds count.
Most surrounding 9-1-1 centers have the ability to transfer a call to San Juan County.
When you call 9-1-1, some critical information is provided. Mainly, your call back number, in case the call is disconnected.
Depending on your cell phone carrier and the level of service, we get what is called Phase I or Phase II. Non initialized cell phones can still call 911. They DO NOT provide a call back number. Phase 1 – wireless 9-1-1 call will come into the PSAP with the phones call back number. This will allow our employees to work with the wireless company to identify the wireless subscriber if there is a life threat. However, Phase I still doesn’t help call takers locate emergency victims or callers. Phase 2 can locate a wireless call in service areas where Phase 2 is implemented. Phase 2 allows call takers to receive both a call back number and an estimated location (300 meter search parameter).
The telephone number 360-378-4141 was set up when cell phone service was minimal on the island. Since we utilized this number as a backup 9-1-1 number it is an option but NOT the best option. It does get answered as 9-1-1 BUT there is no information: no location and no call back number.
360-378-4151 is our standard business line. If your call can be placed on hold (when dispatch has an emergency) then this number would be appropriate.
Know WHEN to call 9-1-1. It is for emergencies. You should dial 9-1-1 if you are in immediate need of police, fire, or medical assistance. If you aren’t sure if your situation is an emergency, you should err on the side of safety and call 9-1-1 and let the call taker assist in making the decision of sending the appropriate resources.
San Juan County Sheriff’s Dispatch