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About 911

Fort Collins 911 answers 911 calls that originate from residences within the Poudre Fire Authority (PFA) and Wellington fire districts. 911 calls from cell phones may be answered by Larimer County Sheriff's Department Dispatch or by Fort Collins 911.

When To Use 911

911 should only be used when a true emergency exists. A true emergency is when an immediate police, fire and/or medical response is needed. Some basic examples of true emergencies are when life and/or property are in immediate danger, when a crime is in progress or has just occurred, or when someone needs an ambulance.

For non-emergency situations, the emergency response agency should be called by using their seven-digit phone number. The non-emergency phone numbers for agencies in the Larimer County region can be found both inside of Qwest phone books and on this web site. We encourage you to print the list and post it by your telephone, so it can be easily accessed when needed.

When a 911 call is received, the dispatcher answering the call must be told the location and nature of the emergency. Additionally, emergency responders require a detailed description of the emergency; as well as the name, address and phone number of the person calling 911.

If the emergency requires an ambulance, the dispatcher will also ask several important medical questions. The ambulance and fire department response to the emergency is based on the answers provided by the caller. Dispatchers will always need to know if the person needing the ambulance is conscious and if they are breathing. Once the reason for the ambulance is ascertained, more specific questions will be asked. While the ambulance is on the way, the dispatcher may also be able to provide critical pre-arrival instructions, such as CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) or how to deliver a baby. Fort Collins 911 utilizes the Medical Priority Dispatch System, developed by Priority Dispatch Corporation. This system is constantly being researched, validated, and updated when necessary.

An example of a 911 call when a medical response and CPR were needed occurred early in October, 1999. At approximately eleven o'clock in the evening, a dispatcher answered a 911 call where a three-month old infant was unconscious and not breathing. The dispatcher was able to quickly relay that information to the emergency units responding while asking the necessary questions. The ambulance and fire truck were dispatched in less than one minute after the 911 call was received. While they were on the way, the dispatcher gave Infant CPR instructions to the grandfather of the infant who relayed the instructions verbatim to the mother who was physically doing CPR on the infant. Within four minutes of receiving the 911 call, the baby was breathing again and crying. As you can see, it is crucial for callers to remain calm, to answer questions clearly, and to follow instructions given by the dispatcher.

Another example of a medical 911 call came very early in the morning and was answered by a dispatcher. A husband called because his wife was in labor. Delivery was imminent. Again, an ambulance was dispatched in under one minute. While the dispatcher was asking questions and beginning to give delivery instructions to the husband; the baby was delivered. Within five minutes of the initial 911 call, a brand new baby had been born! In medical 911 calls such as this one, it is crucial to have the phone as close as possible to the person in need of medical assistance. It is also important not to hang up the telephone until asked to do so by the dispatcher.

911 service is an invaluable benefit to our community. We hope you continue to read our articles and learn from our experiences.

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