As a citizen, you are the eyes and the ears of the emergency responders. You can provide the responders with the much needed information. Below is a list of items that are necessary for relaying good information to responding units.
Where is the incident occurring? Street address? Is it an apartment or a house? On the street? Near what cross street or address? What business on what street and what address? Where the emergency is happening is one of the most crucial pieces of information you can provide. Without the location of the emergency it becomes a challenge for the call takers to determine where emergency services are needed.
What is happening? What kind of incident is taking place? Is it an accident, a parking problem, a burglary or another type of incident.
When did the incident occur? Is it occurring now, did it just happen or did it happen ten minutes ago, two hours or yesterday?
This is the basic information that a dispatcher needs to initiate a response. Be prepared to answer any other questions that the dispatcher might ask and get right to the point when you call. When a vehicle or person is involved in the incident, the dispatcher will usually need information about them.
Start with sex, race, and approximate age of the subject. Then start describing the physical features and clothing from the head down to the feet.
Start with the type of vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle) then give the make, model, approximate year and license plate. The color should be given next starting with the top and then bottom (red over black means red roof/black body) and anything that is unique about the vehicle (e.g. bumper sticker, mis-colored door, cracked window, rims, rust, noise, etc).
Direction of travel of the vehicle or subject
If the vehicle or person has left the scene, the dispatcher will need to know the direction of travel of the vehicle or suspect. Which direction? On what street? How, on foot or in a vehicle?
Weapons or Injuries?
Are there any weapons involved in the incident? Is anyone injured? These questions help with officer safety and also help the call taker to determine what kind of response to send.
Your name, address, and phone number
We need this information so that if we have further questions or the officer does, you can be contacted. If you wish to remain anonymous that is your right, just advise the dispatcher of that fact when they ask for your name. On occasion, you might be asked to remain on the line while the dispatcher gets units responding to the call. Please do! This way you can give more information on the call.