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Frequently Asked Questions Concerning 911

When should I call 9-1-1?

Anytime you feel an emergency response is needed.  Generally this involves threats to life, health and property.  This includes incidents that are happening, incidents that just happened or when you have suspect information.

When should I call the non-emergency number?

If you are reporting incidents that are not in progress, or happened several hours ago.  

The non-emergency numbers are
(406) 582-2000 for Bozeman Police
                 (406) 582-2100 for the Gallatin County Sheriff

If the Police or Sheriff’s Office determine an officer is needed, they will transfer you to the 9-1-1 Center on a non-emergency line.

Why am I transferred to 9-1-1 when I called the non-emergency number?

If you are transferred to the 9-1-1 Center, it will be on a non-emergency line.  It has been determined that you have sufficient information to speak with an officer, or other user Agency, like the Fire Department.

Why am I put on hold when I call 9-1-1?

You may be put on hold ONLY AFTER the dispatcher has determined the emergent nature of your call.

        There are only 2 reasons a caller is put on hold while on a 9-1-1 line:

        > A high volume of calls all at once or
        > The dispatcher needs to clarify a point with the supervisor.

Why does 9-1-1 ask me so many questions?

We receive hundreds of calls a day.  For each and every call, we need to find out certain information to get you the appropriate response as quickly as possible, and to insure the safety of the responders.

We need to know:
What is going on?
Where is the incident taking place?
What is the number you are calling from?

Next, we may ask about weapons, suspects, vehicle and their description, directions of travel, etc.

If it is a medical call, 9-1-1 Dispatchers are trained to ask several questions related to the medical problem and provide pre-arrival instructions following our Emergency Medical Dispatch Criteria.  Most often help is dispatched within 15-30 seconds after the call is received. We pass on the appropriate information we gather to the responders already en-route.  This helps them better prepare for the call at hand.

Please be patient and answer the questions the dispatcher asks you in the order they ask you.  The Dispatchers collectively have years of experience at their disposal.  What may seem like a silly question at the time might literally save your life!  Home address and phone number may be asked in case further contact with you is needed.  

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