Communications / 911
Hancock County Communications Center is responsible for the dispatching of all of Hancock County's emergency response personnel and handling all emergency 911 calls and administrative telephone traffic. The Center was completely remodeled and updated in 2002 to enhance the capability of the operators in effectively providing service to the people living in and traveling through our county. There is a dispatcher on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to handle the needs of the public. There are 5 full time and 4 part time dispatcher that staff the communcations center.
Hancock County is equipped to handle enhanced 9-1-1 calls from the public. What this means is that when a caller dials 9-1-1 from a WIRELINE telephone, the local communications center receives the call along with the location and the phone number of the caller. There are a few things listed below that will help the public if the need ever arises to call this emergency number.
Stay on the Line
It is of utmost importance that when making a 9-1-1 call that you stay on the line with the operator as long as it is safe to do so or until instructed to hang up. This can assist the call taker in determining the exact location of the emergency and the nature of the emergency. The operator will ask various questions to aid the responding agencies prior to their arrival. Do your best to give accurate information.
9-1-1 is for Emergencies
While 9-1-1 may be a convenient way to contact your local communications center, it is important to remember that this number is for emergencies only. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you need to help of the police, the fire department or an ambulance. If you, as the caller, think it is an emergency please never hesitate to use 9-1-1. If a person uses 9-1-1 to harass operators or "prank" call the 9-1-1 center they can be charged criminally under Iowa Code. If there is a non-emergency situation that needs to be reported, please use the administrative line (either 1-800-662-2345 or locally at 923-2621).
What if I accidentally call 9-1-1?
Occasionally a person accidentally dials 9-1-1 or gets misrouted to the 9-1-1 numbers. If this happens, we ask that you only stay on the line and explain the mistake to the operator. This assists us so that we do not have to make a call back to your number or send an officer to your location to determine that everything is okay. Parents with younger children need to stress the importance of only dialing 9-1-1 for emergencies. We often get children calling and hanging up. When we call back, the parents are usually a bit surprised and sometimes even angry. When this happens, it is always a good idea to go over with your child when and when not to use 9-1-1.
Does 9-1-1 work on my Cell Phone?
The easy answer is yes, it does. However, we do not have the capability as of yet to get your exact location. This makes it especially important to stay on the line with the call taker and relay your location. The State of Iowa and most of the counties within the state are currently implementing a system where your location can be determined. It is best to aire on the side of caution and assume that the operator needs your location. So make every effort to know where you are at if calling 9-1-1 from a cellular telephone.