The Communications Division is under the authority of a civilian, who carries the rank and authority of a Lieutenant within the Agency. The division is composed of one Director of Communications, nine full-time communication officers, two full-time Communications Supervisors, and one part-time Communications Officer. The Director of Communications commands the Communications Center and is responsible for the following: staffing and managing the Center’s operation; implementing policies and procedures for the efficient operation of the Center; planning and coordinating the technical support of the Center; and providing 24-hour dispatching for law enforcement, fire and EMS.
The Communications Center is known as a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) and receives all 9-1-1 calls for Fluvanna County. The Center is staffed by Communications Officers (also known as dispatchers). They serve as the first line of communication for emergency and non-emergency calls.
Communications Officers are dedicated to providing service with courtesy, respect and compassion for all citizens and emergency responders. The goal is to provide service as quickly as possible, by utilizing technology and experience to those in time of need.
It is estimated that on average, every individual in the U.S. will call for emergency assistance at least twice during their lifetime. The Communications Division operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
All about 9-1-1: Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when I dial 9-1-1?
Once a 9-1-1 call is received the appropriate agency is dispatched. Dispatchers must then follow the call through to its completion. This may include requests such as driver’s licenses inquiries by law enforcement or additional manpower for a fire. Dispatchers are tasked with accurately documenting all of the communications activities that are transmitted through the center.
How do you know my address and phone number when I call?
We have what is called “E911” or Enhanced 911 capabilities at our center. That means that our computer aided dispatch system has a link to the local telephone company’s computer. If you are calling from a ”land line” (a hard wired phone in your house or business, not a cell phone or VIOP phone used through your computer/internet), when the communications officer answers the phone, a computer display shows the billing name, address, and phone number of the telephone on the other end of the call.
Can I still get 9-1-1 if I dial the operator?
Yes. You can get connected to 9-1-1, however, when you are connected through the operator, we do not get your address or phone number on our Enhanced 911 display.
Can I use a cell phone to dial 9-1-1?
Yes, but you should be aware that cellular calls may not always be routed to the nearest 9-1-1 center. Also, make sure that you clearly state your location, because communications officers will not automatically have your address information. Cell phones that have been disconnected may be used to dial 9-1-1.
When should I call 9-1-1?
You should call 9-1-1 for police, fire and medical service when an emergency has just occurred or is still in progress and an immediate response is needed. When you call, you should clearly state your address, the emergency service that is needed (police, fire, and ambulance), provide all of the information requested, and stay on the line until you are told to disconnect.
When should I NOT call 9-1-1?
You should not use 9-1-1 if you are reporting anything that has occurred prior to the current time (like yesterday, days before, or even weeks before). You should not call 9-1-1 for information about weather or road conditions, power outages, directions, etc. 9-1-1 should only be used for only emergencies. For questions about roads you can call VDOT at 1(800) FOR-ROAD or 1 (800) 367-7623 or go to their website at http://www.virginiadot.org/. For power issues concerning Central VA Electric Cooperative you can contact them at 1 (800) 367-2832 or http://www.forcvec.com/, for Dominion Virginia Power 1 (866) 366-4357 or https://www.dom.com, for Rappahannock Electric Cooperative 1 (800) 552-3904 or http://www.myrec.coop, and for Appalachian Power 1 (800) 956-4237 or https://www.appalachianpower.com.
Dialing 9-1-1 saves valuable time in an emergency. According to nationwide statistics, it can take up to 2.5 minutes to find your telephone directory and another 30 seconds to locate the correct number. In the event of an emergency, 3 minutes can be a very long time, which is why understanding the importance of 9-1-1 is critical.