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  • Writer's pictureMichelle

911 - Your Lifeline When You Need It

The number “911” is the universal emergency number for everyone in the United States. It’s important and reassuring to know you are always only three digits away from help, should you ever have an emergency. But what most people don’t even think about is the experienced team working diligently to ensure “911” delivers help when needed. Let’s “pull back the curtain” with this behind-the-scenes look at your safety lifeline.

You might not know that Provo City operates what’s called a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). The small 911 tax on your phone bill helps fund your local “PSAP,” better known as the Provo 911 Emergency Communications Center.

The Experts

We train and retain some of the very best emergency 911 telecommunicators in Utah. You may also hear them referred to as “dispatchers,” “emergency call takers” or “911 operators,” but regardless of the title, they are the people always on the ready to answer the emergency call and direct the correct lifesaving resources where needed. You will not see them on scene, but they are truly the first “first responders,” are highly trained and take great pride in what they do.

911 telecommunicators are trained to handle medical emergencies before medics arrive. They provide a calming and knowledgeable voice, giving important directives to manage the scene remotely until help arrives. Their role is to ensure the caller is safe until police arrive, to provide a stabilizing influence and to relay vital information to first responders.

Help Us Help You

The Provo 911 Emergency Communications Center is staffed with supervisors, emergency call takers, and dispatchers. Sometimes callers get frustrated with a call taker who asks a series of questions, even though they are necessary questions to learn important details about the emergency and what aid should be dispatched.

It’s important to note that help is dispatched as soon as a call is received, so answering the questions is in no way delaying response time; it’s just guaranteeing we have all of the information we need to make proper safety decisions. Established protocol requires a call taker to continue inputting necessary call data in a computer while a coworker immediately dispatches a police, fire or medical personnel. The call taker then continues gathering information from a caller, and the dispatcher update first responders by radio while they are driving to the scene. By working together, we provide fast and efficient service that saves lives—and that is our goal with every call we take.

Be Prepared

If you have to call 911, be prepared to answer some very basic questions: - What is the nature of your emergency? - Do you need police, fire or emergency medical help? - Where are you located?

Don't Call 911...

Unless it is an actual emergency.

Every non-emergency call ties up a 911 operator who might be needed to give life-saving help and creates an unnecessary burden on the system.

911 should only to be used to report emergency situations. An emergency is defined as any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/ sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. 911 should not be used for simple questions such as, when will the power come back on, or for reporting that there is a cat up in a tree.

If you need to make a non-emergency police report, call us on the non-emergency line, 801-852-6210. Better yet, go to and make your report online. If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency, you should call 911. It’s better to be safe and let the 911 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.

Do Call 911...

Immediately for the following:

  • Any threat of harm to personal safety or the safe ty of others.

  • Any criminal act that is in progress or has just occurred.

  • Any situation which escalates from non-emergency to emergency.

Whenever you call the Provo 911 Emergency Communications Center, be assured you are talking to the best in the public safety business and we are here for you!

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