Emergency Services

How 911 Works

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How 911 Works

When calling 9-1-1, the call is routed to the Public Safety Dispatch Center in the Police Administration Building of 253 High St, where a Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) answers the call. The RTO is required to state their name and RTO number. It is always advisable to ask for the Radio Telephone Operator's name and number if you do not hear it properly.

The 911 computer displays the telephone number, name and address associated with the telephone being used to call 9-1-1. This ability is part of the Centers Enhanced 9-1-1 system, a feature is especially helpful for persons with speech impairments; child callers or elderly persons whom are unable to fully communicate their message or someone in an urgent or dangerous situation or are unable to speak on the phone.

In cases where the caller is using a cellular phone, it is very important to provide the location of the incident immediately. Cell phones are directed to regional cell phone answering points (Hartford's cell 911's now go to a State Police Barracks) and must be rerouted to our center. In the near future we will receive the cell calls directly to our center.

The RTO will ask vital questions while taking the information to assess the situation. The call for service is then assigned a "Priority Code" based upon the circumstances you describe.

The RTO then enters the information into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system which routes the call to the correct geographic police, fire and ambulance console for dispatching. The CAD system prioritizes the call and selects the closest police, fire or ambulance units necessary and available to respond.

During 'Crimes in Progress' assignments, the Police will be dispatched as the caller remains on the phone continuing to provide additional information to the RTO.

During medical calls the RTO is trained to assist the caller with some limited medical direction.

During your 911 call, should a problem be encountered with a RTO, or the service you receive is unsatisfactory - PLEASE dial 9-1-1 again and ask to speak with a supervisor. The Supervisor will assist you with your complaint and/or problem. It is helpful if you have the name and number of the RTO you dealt with when speaking with the supervisor, but not essential.

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Emergency Services Contact

Call 9-1-1 For Police-Fire-Medical Emergencies

Emergency Services & Telecommunications
Public Safety Complex
253 High Street
Hartford, CT 06103
Administrative Contact: 
(860) 757-4050 


HARTFORD CITY HALL ADDRESS: 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 PHONE: (860)757-9311 HOURS: 8AM - 5PM