You should call 9-1-1 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 9-1-1 to report something, call 9-1-1 and speak with one of our specially trained Communicators who can help in determining what type of assistance to send.
Public Safety Communications (PSC) answers more than 150,000 9-1-1 calls in an average year. On a typical day, more than 97% of these calls are answered within 10 seconds.
However, a single incident, such as a rush-hour car fire or a meteor sighting, may generate a higher volume of 9-1-1 calls that are not able to be answered as quickly 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 (English, Spanish, and TTY) indicating they have dialed 9-1-1 correctly and will be connected to a Communicator as soon as possible.
The objective of this message is to reduce the likelihood of a caller hanging up and re-dialing 9-1-1, which could further delay a public safety response. If a caller has hung up and called again, they could be talking with a Communicator while another Communicator is simultaneously trying to call them back, wasting valuable time.
No. Depending on their location, 9-1-1 callers in Dane County may reach any of five Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).
Those PSAPs are:
Our Communicators answer 9-1-1 calls 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 the location of the problem, how can we send help?
Other questions are asked as appropriate or dictated by Emergency Medical, Fire, or Police 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.
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 9-1-1 call being answered, the Dispatcher must then send law enforcement and attempt to call you back. This takes up precious time that could be used to answer another call that may be an actual emergency.
A common misconception is that you will get "in trouble" for accidentally dialing 9-1-1. This is simply not true! Accidents happen. We understand!
An auto attendant is an automated, electronic system that promptly answers, greets and assists callers in reaching appropriate destinations.
Callers outside of Dane County may call (608) 266-4920 to report an emergency or (608) 255-2345 to report a non-emergency. Please consult our contacts page for a more complete list of contact information.
Yes. It is possible to text 9-1-1 in Dane County for customers of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, Cricket & US Cellular.
It is very important to note that while Text-to-911 is now available, it is not intended to replace a voice call to 9-1-1. Our motto is:
“911: CALL IF YOU CAN, TEXT IF YOU CAN’T!"
A voice call to 9-1-1 is still the quickest, most efficient way to reach emergency help in Dane County.
Yes, even if the phone does not have a service plan from a provider! View our handout discussing the limitations of cellular 9-1-1 service.
Yes. Calls to 9-1-1 from payphones are provided at no charge.
All workstations in the Communications Center are equipped with a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) that allows typed (text) communication with people who are hearing or speech impaired.
If a caller does not speak English, our center has access to Language Line Services that provide 24hr/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.