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The address/location of where the responders are needed, what the problem is and why help is needed, your name, and other details the call taker may ask for, including license plate numbers and person or vehicle descriptions.


  • Stay calm.
  • Answer questions concisely, accurately and coherently.
  • Help is being dispatched while you are on the line.
  • The call taker may keep you on the line and continue asking questions or providing lifesaving instructions until help arrives.
  • Let the call taker guide the conversation.
  • Know where you are and/or what is nearby.

The call takers ask questions based on protocols that help determine what’s wrong and how many responders are needed. The questions that are asked are to protect the public and the first responders. While the call taker is questioning you, they are also entering the information for the dispatcher who is actually the one sending the first responders to you. By answering questions concerning medical conditions or suspect information, you may be able to provide the information needed to get the best response and outcome possible.

In the case of medical calls, call takers ask very specific questions that allow them to provide pre-arrival instructions, like talking you through CPR, which may help save a life until the first responders arrive.

Depending on the emergency, help is being dispatched while call takers are on the phone with you, as soon as they are able to verify the address and phone number you are calling from. They will continue to gather information needed for first responders as they are enroute to you. If possible, stay on the line with 9-1-1 until being told it is ok to disconnect.

When there are more appropriate available resources, for example:

  • Tune to the local news media for updates on weather and road conditions.
  • Report power outages to your utility provider.
  • Find a business phone number online or by calling 4-1-1.

Yes. Proven effective throughout the U.S., Text-to-9-1-1 is recognized as an excellent resource to have when cell phones are available but speaking on the phone would put the caller in danger. The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) notes that Text-to-911 also allows direct access to 9-1-1 for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities. However, residents are reminded to call, rather than text, whenever possible to ensure that critical information can be relayed in the most efficient way possible.

If you can, contact 9-1-1 by making a voice call, “Call if you can – text if you can’t.”

  • Be prepared to provide your location. Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon.
  • When texting to 9-1-1, callers must use plain English and avoid short expressions or abbreviations, which may be misunderstood or unknown to the call taker. 
  • Text-to-911 cannot be sent to more than one person. Do not send your emergency text as a group message, or to anyone other than 9-1-1.
  • Texts must be in English only. Language translation services are unavailable.
  • Photos and videos cannot be received by 9-1-1 at this time. 
Yes, although wireless calls can present challenges for 9-1-1 centers and callers. With cell phones, your location is not automatically displayed like it is on traditional phones. If you are not familiar with your exact location, it is crucial that you give as much information about your surroundings as possible.

9-1-1 is intended for emergencies. If the situation seems urgent, is life-threatening or has the potential to become dangerous, call 9-1-1. If you are unsure if your situation is an emergency, dial 9-1-1. All other calls should be directed to our non-emergency number at 850-606-5800.

Any incident that threatens health, life or property should be reported to 9-1-1. Examples include: crimes that are in progress as well as fires or medical problems requiring emergency assistance.

If you’re not sure, call 911. Our call takers are trained to determine the severity of situations and send appropriate help.

The length of a 9-1-1 call varies based on the severity and circumstances involved with each situation.

Complaints and compliments can be handled two ways. You can either call the non-emergency number and ask to speak to the supervisor on duty, or you can click here to provide comments online.

When you dial 9-1-1 from a traditional landline telephone, one that is wired into a house or other building, the location from which you are calling is displayed on a computer screen. If you cannot speak, either because of a technical issue, vocal impairment or crime in progress, a law enforcement officer will be sent to your location to check for any trouble. If you are ill or being kept from speaking by someone, leave the telephone off the hook. Any noise that we can hear will help us determine the most appropriate response. We will stay on the line until the responders arrive on scene.

Every call taker at the CDA has been trained on the proper use of a TDD. You can utilize the TDD phone number 850-606-5805 or use the Florida Relay Service. If it is an emergency dial 9-1-1. Our phone system is setup to automatically detect TDD calls.

CDA call takers can get a translator on the line within seconds once the language spoken is identified. Dispatchers use a service called Language Line. The translator will remain on the line throughout the call to relay information between the caller and the 9-1-1 operator.

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If you dial 9-1-1, even by accident, DO NOT HANG UP. A call taker needs to verify your information and make sure no emergency assistance is needed. Callback information is received when you dial 9-1-1. If you hang up the call taker must then call you back to determine why you called which could further delay the answering of other emergency calls. If you do not answer on the call back emergency responders have to be sent to the address. This is true even if the call is not immediately answered or if assistance is no longer needed.

When you call from a cell phone, the information the call taker sees is limited. Unlike most landlines, a cell phone cannot provide exact location/address information. It is important for you to know where you are at all times in case of emergency so you can describe your location as precisely as possible—including cross streets, mile markers, or landmarks. Cellular service may not be available in some areas or in the forests. If service is available, a 9-1-1 call for help will be picked up by the nearest cellular tower in the most direct line of sight to your location. Call takers will not be able to know your exact location. Be prepared to provide location information such as trailhead, trail mile marker, landmarks, or point of entrance to the forest. If internet access is possible, a caller can go to to obtain location information which can be provided to the call taker.

The non-emergency number is available 24-hours a day and can be used when calling 9-1-1 may not be appropriate.

Examples of when you should call the non-emergency number:

  • Delayed calls where no suspects are on scene and there is no danger to the caller.
  • Your house or car was broken into, but you did not witness the incident.
  • You need to add additional items to your burglary report, which you previously reported.
  • Your car or bicycle was stolen sometime during the day/night.
  • What is the address of the emergency? If you don’t know the actual address, tell the dispatcher and then give cross streets, or provide nearby landmarks and business names, or look at house numbers in the area. If you are calling from inside a home or business, look on a piece of mail. When asked for a location, we need you to be specific.
  • What is the phone number you’re calling from? This is necessary in case we are disconnected or need to call you back.
  • 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.
  • During a power outage, a landline phone is kept in service by the current supplied through the phone line (cordless phones being the exception). This is not possible with Internet phones, so when the power goes out, there is no VoIP phone service.
  • If your internet goes out, your phone will not work.
  • Limited Emergency Calls – Another major concern involves emergency 9-1-1 calls. With traditional landline phones your phone number is attached to your address and maintained by the phone company. With a VoIP phone service, it is the responsibility of the customer to update their address anytime they move. If the customer moves and does not update their address, responders could be directed to the wrong location.
  • Cellular provided home phones do not have your address attached to your phone number.