Safety Tips

During an emergency, police and fire responders are there to help you. However, in the event of a major disaster, police and fire personnel may find it necessary to prioritize calls in order to help those in life-threatening situations. In order to help keep emergency responders available for those in dire need, you should prepare yourself for both major and minor emergencies for your own safety.  Use the following links to learn more:


Proper Use of 911

911 is your connection to police, fire and paramedic services. Our Communications Operators are highly trained, dedicated professionals who will assist you in getting the help you need. Please remember these tips whenever you call 911. It is of critical importance...

  • Use 911 in emergency situations that require police, fire or paramedic services.
  • Know your location at all times. This is particularly important if you are calling from a cell phone (with the new wireless 911 system at RCC, we are able to locate your position within 50 yards at best). You should know what city you are in, building or home addresses, cross streets, landmarks, etc.
  • Communicate your location as soon as you are asked.
  • Keep your cell phone in the "locked" or safe position when not in use to prevent accidental calls. When an SBRPCA 911 call-taker answers they will ask you if you need "police" "fire" or "ambulance". The call-taker will also confirm which city you are calling from.
  • Be prepared to answer questions. Listen carefully; speak clearly and try to remain calm
  • Please understand that while call-takers are asking you questions, they are relaying vital information simultaneously to both dispatchers and emergency personnel alike. It may seem like the call-taker is "asking too many questions" and "not sending help," but we assure you...that is all happening behind the scenes. The more information emergency responders have before they arrive on the scene, the better prepared they are to help you
  • You will be asked questions to determine the nature of your emergency. Our call-takers are experienced "information gatherers" and their persistence is based on a need to provide accurate and specific information to the attending emergency personnel. You will likely be asked many specific questions
  • Learn your compass directions (north, south, east, west).
  • Don't program 911 into speed dial. It takes a split second to dial 911... and when it's pre-programmed you can dial 911 accidentally
  • If you do dial 911 accidentally, please stay on the line and tell us. If you hang up we will have to send emergency personnel to your location unnecessarily thus tying up vital resources.
  • Teach children to use 911 properly and remind them it is not a toy. Put your address information near the phone and make sure your children and babysitters know where to locate it 
  • Teach your non-English speaking family and friends to learn the English word for the language they do speak in case a translator is needed
  • Don't call 911 and ask for the "non-emergency" or business phone number. Those numbers are located on the front cover of your phone book. You can also dial directory assistance (4-1-1) and retrieve a number. Please do not tie up an emergency line with such requests 
  • 911 call-takers cannot provide information on the magnitude of earthquakes; why there is a power outage or what time it is after a seasonal time change has occurred. Please use 911 responsibly. It is not an "information line"
  • Please do not call for a tow truck or taxi--we cannot transfer you and we cannot provide you directions

* Internet phones do not provide name, number or location information. This is a serious safety issue. Know your location at all times and communicate that information as soon as possible.


Proper Use of Cell Phones

The SBRPCA 911 call takers respond to more than 19,000 calls each month and we estimate that 10% of those calls come from cell phones.

Cell phones play a huge role in reporting emergency situations including injuries and crime. However, there is also a down-side to cell phone use.

If you have a cell you know you may have called 911 without even knowing it?

SBRPCA receives numerous "dropped calls" each day.  What that means is that there is no one on the line when the 911 call taker answers.

What many cell-phone users don't realize is that some cell phones come from the manufacturer with a pre-programmed 911 function that can be accidentally depressed if the phone's key-guard is not used.

For example, on some cell phones, the "one" key may be red while the other numbers are not. If you depress this key for more than a few seconds, it will automatically call 911. Cell phones should always be kept in the "locked mode" to prevent this from happening. Check with your cell phone provider for instructions on how to use the key-guard.

If key guards are not used, then 911 may be dialed by accident. For example, if you leave your cell phone at the bottom of your briefcase, that automatic button could be depressed and you will call 911 without even knowing it. Or if you leave it on the front seat of your car and throw your purse on top...the same thing can happen.

If you dial 911 from a residential or business phone then the SBRPCA computer system will display the name, phone number and address connected to the phone that you have dialed from. The call-taker will confirm the location information with you. This way, if you are disconnected at any time, the call-taker can call you back. In the case of a business, the main number is displayed not direct lines or locals.

However, if you dial 911 from a cell phone, the caller information is limited because the phone is not registered to a fixed location like an in-home telephone.  As a result of recent innovations at the South Bay communications center with its wireless 911 system, cell phone callers in the RCC’s region can be located to within 50 yards.   Please do your part and use 911 responsibly.

Please make sure any phone you use does not have 911 on speed dial and in particular, ensure your cell phone is kept in the locked position if you have an automatic dial for 911.


Emergency Prepardness

No one knows when a disater will strike so the time to prepare is now.  There are numerous resources to assist you in this preparation but one of our favorites is the American Red Cross.  For disaster planning, click here 


To put together an Emergency Kit, click here 


Telephone tips following an earthquake or other disaster or major event:

  • Ensure all phones are on the hook 
  • Use the phone only if a life is at stake 
  • Listen to your radio and TV for instructions. Do NOT CALL 911 for information purposes


Emergency Prepardness Links

Other Agencies/Organizations


Preparedness Tips


Energy Conservation


Public Health








Chemical Hazards


Children Prepardness


Homeland Security


Persons with Disabilities


Pet Preparedness