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Welcome to the Department of Emergency Communications (DEC) 

Mission: To provide professional, time efficient and operationally effective 9-1-1/Emergency Communications services to the citizens of Milwaukee and the Police and Fire Departments.


DEC team members are hard at work merging 9-1-1 fire and police Public Service Answering Points (PSAPs) into one unified operation. This is very good news for the Milwaukee community! Using a phased approach, staff are preparing for a major shift in the way calls are handled. Full consolidation in the DEC is expected in 2024.

DEC Objectives include:

  • Implement the transition process from two separate MPD and MFD Emergency Communications Centers to a single unified Department of Emergency Communications (DEC)
  • Improve 9-1-1/Emergency Communications workflows and business processes to achieve maximum operational effectiveness and time efficiency
  • Improve the quality of Call Taking services to citizens who call 9-1-1 to report emergency situations
  • Incorporate nationally accepted public safety standards, best practices and guidelines to Department of Emergency Communications policies and procedures
  • Establish new unified workflows, business processes, procedures and training protocols to streamline MPD and MFD operations
  • Ensure DEC personnel are trained to proficiency

 

 

911 Is No Joke

911 Is No Joke

In moments of crisis, it can be easy to freeze or hesitate, but every second counts. By calling 911 immediately, you could make the difference between life and death for someone in need. Get 911 facts, tips, and resources, plus other helpful numbers to know.

Learn More

How Do I Make a 911 Call?

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  What happens when you call 911?

Many 911 call centers follow protocols that guide callers through a sequence of questions to quickly obtain information necessary for dispatching the right responders to the right location. Call-takers may also provide instructions about what to do until help arrives. Follow these instructions and do not hang-up until instructed to do so. Questions may include:

• Address of emergency
• Phone number you are calling from
• Nature of emergency
• Details about emergency: description of people, hazard, sypmtoms/injuries involved. 

  Can I text 911 for emergency assistance?

Currently the City of Milwaukee does not except 911 text calls. The caller will receive a message “Your text session with 911 could not be connected. Please call 911 for assistance.”

  What should I do if I accidentally dial 911?

If you dial 911 by mistake, or if a child in your home dials 911 when no emergency exists, DO NOT HANG UP – that could make 911 officials think that an emergency exists, and possibly send responders to your location. Instead, simply explain to the call-taker what happened.

  Can I dial 911 from a wireless phone without a wireless calling plan?

All wireless phones, even those that are not subscribed to or supported by a specific carrier, can be used to dial 911. However, these uninitialized phones are often used to place malicious or fake calls to 911 call centers. These calls are a burden on the 911 system because they require the answering center to confirm whether or not an emergency truly exists. Oftentimes, parents provide these uninitialized wireless phones as toys to young children, unaware that if the child dials 911, a live call will be connected with the local 911 call center.

  How can I prevent my child from accidentally dialing 911?

Teaching children appropriate uses of the 911 system is as important as teaching them how to place a 911 call. For more information, visit 911 for Kids. Parents should also be aware that wireless phones without a current calling plan through a wireless provider are still capable of connecting a call to a local 911 center. Children should be told not to dial 911 from these old or uninitialized phones.

  How do I know local 911 has the correct address for my home/business?

When calling 911, it is important to know your location and be able to provide 911 with the correct address and closest cross streets or landmarks. If you would like to contact your local 911 call center to confirm the address that correlates with your phone number is correct, do not dial 911. Rather, contact your local public safety answering point (PSAP) or call center through its non-emergency, 10-digit phone number. Explain that you do not have an emergency but would like to request the local 911 call center’s non-emergency 10-digit number. Please see: How to register Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone for 911?

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  How can I reach 911 in a different state, county or city?

With a few exceptions, 911 calls cannot be transferred to other jurisdictions except between call centers within a county and between adjacent counties. The best option to obtain emergency assistance in a different state, county or city is to dial the 10-digit phone number for law enforcement in the community where assistance is needed. For corporations interested in providing emergency assistance support to clients nationwide, a list of 911 call center 10-digit emergency phone numbers can be obtained by contacting the National Emergency Number Association. 

  How can I register my Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone for 911?

VoIP service allows users to place and receive calls to and from traditional phone numbers using an internet connection and can be used in place of traditional phone service. Because VoIP phones can be used anywhere an internet connection is available, the 911 call center cannot locate callers unless the VoIP device is registered to a physical address through the VoIP provider. Anytime the VoIP phone is moved from one location to another, the owner should contact the provider to update the new physical location of the device. Learn more about VoIP devices from the FCC.

  What are 911 apps?

A number of private companies have developed and sell a variety of smartphone computer applications intended to supplement the use of 911. Because 911 system capabilities vary across the United States, it is important that application developers have confirmed that their company/organization has the legal authority to contact 911 on a caller’s behalf. If you have any questions regarding the use of a particular app with the call center in your community, please contact the application provider directly to ask questions about legal authority or the use of their application by a specific 911 call center.

  Who manages 911 call centers?

911 professionals are employed by a variety of local and state agencies, including law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency management agencies and Information Technology (IT) services, either as sworn or civilian personnel.

  Are 911 call takers certified?

Some 911 professionals are certified as emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs), emergency fire dispatchers (EFDs) or emergency police dispatchers (EPDs), which means they have received additional specialized training to assist callers in all types of emergencies. Managers and supervisors may also be certified as emergency number professionals, or ENPs, demonstrating that they have mastered the comprehensive knowledge base necessary to manage an emergency number program.

  Why are 911 fees included on my landline or wireless bill?

Local governments pass laws that allow them to collect 911 fees through your local telephone service or wireless provider. The fees collected are distributed to help pay for emergency communication and response services in your area. Enhanced 911 (E911), which enables a wireless device to transmit its phone number and geographic location to the 911 call center, is an example of how wireless services have upgraded their delivery of 911 calls over time. According to the FCC, some wireless service providers may choose to pass their costs of providing E911 service on to their customers and this charge may also be described as an E911 charge on your wireless telephone bill. 

(Thanks to the National 911 Program, which is housed within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Emergency Medical Services.)

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