Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you ask so many questions?

METCAD Telecommunicators follow a specific line of questioning to assist with rapid identification of the situation and collection of facts. This line of questioning has been established by the public safety agencies served by METCAD as well as the Medical Director for Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) protocols. Telecommunicators do not ask these questions because they are nosy. Their primary concern is to obtain as much information as is possible to expedite the emergency response by the public safety agency.  In most cases, the Telecommunicator you are speaking with is not responsible for dispatching the first responders and can continue to obtain vital information from you even while your call is being dispatched. 

Why wasn't my call dispatched immediately?

METCAD Telecommunicators assign a priority level to each incoming call for service based upon the information collected during the telephone call.  A call of an accident, for example, where the cars are all out of traffic might be assigned a priority level of 3, which is "next available beat car".  However, an accident with injuries would be assigned a priority level of 1, which indicates it is an emergency and a unit would be dispatched as soon as possible, even if they had to be called off of a lower priority call.  If it appears that any call for service must be held, for whatever reason, the shift commander for the appropriate agency is notified of the situation.

Is there a non-emergency phone number to reach METCAD for a non-life threatening call?

Yes, you can call 217/333-8911 if you have a non-emergency request for assistance.  Examples include noise complaints, parking problems, etc.

What is the difference between 9-1-1 and 217/333-8911?

Although answered by the same group of dispatchers, 9-1-1 is reserved for emergencies and should not be used in a non-emergency situation.  9-1-1 is answered on a priority basis over 217/333-8911.

What should I do if I unintentionally dial 9-1-1?

First of all, don't panic, this happens on a regular basis.  Simply stay on the phone and explain to the METCAD Telecommunicator that the call was accidental.  They may ask a couple questions to verify everything is OK, but they're just trying to make sure you are OK.

Why did 9-1-1 call me back when I accidentally dialed 9-1-1 and hung up?

METCAD Telecommunicators are required to attempt to call back a number which dialed 9-1-1 and hung up.  If you do not answer, a police offcer may be dispatched to your location to determine if there is an emergency.  Many of these calls are accidental, so we ask that if you do accidentally dial 9-1-1, please stay on the line and explain this to the METCAD Telecommunicator.

Can I tour the 9-1-1 center?

As a general rule, the 9-1-1 center is closed to the public for security reasons.  However, we can grant some requests.  If you or your group have a specific request for a tour, please contact our offices at 217/333-4348.