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Andover Help Center - How Do I?
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Andover Kansas Andover, Kansas
1609 E Central Ave
P.O. Box 295
Andover, KS 67002
Ph: (316) 733-1303
Fx: (316) 733-4634

Why do the dispatchers ask so many question when I call 911?

Emergency dispatchers need to get accurate information to allow officers to make the best decision on how to approach the situation. Dispatchers handling fire and paramedic calls must also consider the well-being of the public and the safety of the firefighters and paramedics. Callers will be asked:

  • Where
  • What
  • Who
  • When
  • (maybe) Weapons

The information you provide a dispatcher is relayed to responding officers, paramedics or firefighters while they are on their way to the call.  This allows them to help make educated decisions about how they respond to the call and what equipment they take with them.

If I call 911, what will they ask me?

1.      What is the location of the emergency?

This is the address where the emergency is actually happening. If you don't know the actual address, tell the dispatcher and then:

    • Give cross streets
    • Provide landmarks, business names or parks near the emergency.
    • Look at the house numbers in the area.
    • If you are calling from inside a home or business, look on a piece of mail.
    • If you are hunting and have a GPS, offer dispatchers the GPS coordinates. 

When asked for a location, we need you to be specific.

Also, if the suspect just left (such as a theft suspect), we need to know which way that suspect went and a description of how he looked.

If you are asked to describe a suspect, start with the most obvious things.

Some examples are:

    • "He was a white male."
    • "He/she had a gun."
    • "He/she was at least 6 feet tall."
    • "He/she was wearing a bright red jacket."
    • "He had a long brown beard."

If you describe a vehicle, include:

    • License plate information, including the state.
    • Color.
    • Year. (If unknown, tell the dispatcher if it was a new or old vehicle.)
    • Make. (Was it a Honda? Nissan? Ford?)
    • Body style. (Was it a 4-door? Hatchback? Pick-up truck?)
    • Other things you may remember about it. (Did it have a toolbox?  Stickers?)

2.      What is the phone number you're calling from?

This is the number to the phone you're actually calling from. We need this in case we have to call you back.

3.      What is the problem?

       Tell us exactly what happened. Be as concise as possible. Tell us what the problem is now, not what led up to the problem.

  • "I see a fight on the corner of 6th and Main."
  • "I am fighting with my husband."
  • "There is a car accident westbound on Highway 54 at South Andover Road."

We also need to know if you're going to be at, or near, the scene when we arrive because the police may need to talk to you, or you may need to point out the exact location. We may ask you what kind of car you are in, or what color of clothing you are wearing. 

If I call to report a fire, what should I tell the dispatcher?

You should be prepared to answer questions like these:

  • Where is the fire?
  • What is on fire?
  • How large is the fire? (This is a only an estimate, think about the size of the fire in relation to something common: the size of a living room, the size of a football field, bigger than a grocery store parking lot.)
  • Are any structures threatened? Are there flames moving close to any homes or buildings?
  • Are there power lines involved?
  • Do you know if anyone is inside the house or building?
  • Do you know if anyone is hurt?

When I call 911, why do I get asked to hold on?

The same dispatcher who answers the 911 calls also dispatch the Emergency Responders that you are needing as well as answer the non-emergency calls for service in Andover. When the dispatch center is busy, the dispatchers have to ask non-emergency callers to hold on while they answer other (possible emergency) calls. Every effort is made to get back to you as quickly as possible, and your patience and understanding is appreciated.