When should I call 9-1-1?

You should call 911 any time you believe an ambulance, fire truck, or law enforcement needs to respond immediately to a situation. If you are not sure you should call 911 to report something, call 911 and speak with one of our specially trained Communicators who can help in determining what type of assistance to send.

Will callers dialing 9-1-1 reach a recording?

MECC answers more than 28,000 calls in an average year. More than 97% of these calls are answered within (4) seconds during a typical day. However, a single incident, such as a rush-hour car fire or lightning strike, may generate more 911 calls than are able to be answered as quickly as usual by on-duty staff.

In an effort to enhance our excellent customer service while meeting national standards, after three rings, callers will hear a message indicating they have dialed 911 correctly and will be answered as soon as possible. The objective of this message is to reduce the likelihood of a caller hanging up and re-dialing 911 which could further delay a public safety response (and causes 911 center staff to spend time calling the person who hung up while the caller may be talking with another 911 call-taker).

Are all 9-1-1 calls in Franklin and Fairfield Counties answered by MECC?

No. Depending on their location, 911 callers in Franklin and Fairfield Counties may reach any of (21) Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

Those PSAPs are:

  • Bexley Police
  • Columbus Police and Fire
  • Columbus Regional Airport Police
  • Dublin Police
  • Fairfield County Sheriff
  • Franklin County Sheriff
  • Gahanna Police
  • Grandview Heights Police
  • Grove City Police
  • Hilliard Police
  • Lancaster Police and Fire
  • MECC
  • New Albany Police
  • Ohio State Highway Patrol
  • Ohio State University Police
  • Pickerington Police
  • Reynoldsburg Police
  • Upper Arlington Police
  • Westerville Communications
  • Whitehall Police
  • Worthington Police

How can I help the 9-1-1 call taker?

  1. Answer all questions asked by the call-taker.
  2. Listen to all instructions provided to you by the call-taker.
  3. Speak clearly (so we can understand what you are telling us).
  4. Remain calm (difficult to do at times, we understand. But by remaining calm, you will help the call taker gather valuable information needed by first responders).

Why does the 911 call taker ask so many questions?

The call taker answers a 911 call with the question "9-1-1, what’s the address of the emergency?" This is the most critical piece of information we can gather. If we do not have a location of the problem, how can we send help? Other questions are asked as appropriate or dictated by Emergency Medical or Emergency Fire Protocols. All questions asked by the call-taker are important and are asked in such a way to gather the most appropriate information in the shortest amount of time. During emergency situations, help is usually on the way while the call-taker continues to gather more information from you!

What should I do if I dial 911 by mistake?

Do not hang up! Remain on the line (even if you are unsure at first if the call went through) and tell the call taker that the call was a mistake. If you hang up prior to your misdialed 911 call being answered, the call-taker must then send law enforcement and attempt to call you back. This takes up precious time that the call taker could use to answer another call that may be an actual emergency. A common misconception is that you will get "in trouble" for accidentally dialing 911. This is simply not true! Accidents happen. We understand!

What is an automated attendant?

An auto attendant is an automated, electronic system that promptly answers, greets and assists callers in reaching appropriate destinations.

Can I dial 911 from a cellular telephone?

Yes (even if the phone does not have a service plan from a provider)!

Can the 911 Center communicate with the speech and/or hearing impaired? Or what if the 911 caller doesn’t speak English?

All workstations in the Communications Center are equipped with Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) that allows typed (text) communication with people who are hearing and/or speech impaired.

If a caller does not speak English, our center has access to Language Line Services that provide 24-hr/day over-the-phone interpretation of over 175 different languages. The process of getting an interpreter on the phone with the caller is generally less than one minute.

Is it possible to send a text message to 911?

No. At this time, you are not able to send a text message to 911.

I have additional question(s) that have not been covered in your FAQ. What can I do to address my question(s)?

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for anywhere on our website, please feel free to email. If your request is time-sensitive, please contact the Duty Supervisor 24hrs/day at 614-536-0058.