How does an emergency call work?
At the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), the operator verifies the caller's location, determines the nature of the emergency, and decides which emergency response teams should be notified. The emergency dispatcher uses location information provided by the caller's telephone through enhanced 9-1-1 landlines and cellular telephone to the proper public safety agency to alert responder personnel.

The primary PSAP for Loudoun County is the Department of Fire and Rescue, and answers for the entire county. If the call is for a law enforcement-related emergency, the caller is transferred to a secondary PSAP such as the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, Leesburg Police Department, or Virginia State Police for help.

Although the Department of Fire and Rescue operates the PSAP, they also function as the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) for the fire and rescue system. Once the call is determined to be fire and rescue-related, personnel in Fire and Rescue ECC alert the appropriate emergency response team. During emergencies, radio systems frequently are used by emergency units at the scene to coordinate activities among all emergency fire and rescue personnel and with dispatchers in the ECC.

Show All Answers

1. How does an emergency call work?
2. When should you call 911?
3. How can callers help the 911 dispatchers?
4. What number do I call for non-emergency assistance?
5. Why do dispatchers ask so many questions?
6. What should I do if I call 911 by mistake?
7. Who does the center dispatch?
8. Can the center communicate with the speech-impaired and hearing-impaired?
9. Can I call 911 from a pay phone?
10. Can I call 911 from a cellular phone?
11. I speak a foreign language. Can the 911 center communicate with me during an emergency?
12. Can I send a text to 911?