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Frequently Asked Questions

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Does It Have To Be An Emergency To Call 9-1-1?

When you need a response from an emergency service, dial 9-1-1. This means if you need a police officer, a fire engine, or an ambulance to come to you as soon as possible, you should dial 9-1-1. If your situation is not threatening life or property, dial the general number of the agency you need.

Do Dispatchers Provide Medical Care Instructions Before The Arrival Of Emergency Services?
No, 9-1-1 dispatchers are not allowed by law to dispense medical advice. In such case of a person in need of pre-arrival medical advice (EMD) Emergency Medical Dispatch, the 9-1-1 dispatch operator will transfer you to American Medical Response (AMR) located in Marina, Ca.,who is equipped to provide pre-arrival instructions.

Why Does The Dispatcher Ask Me So Many Questions?
Police/Fire/Medical Dispatchers follow a predetermined set of questions/protocols. Based on your answers to these questions, we can determine the best response/level of care for you. For example, a heart attack will elicit a different response level than a broken arm, and a trash can fire will elicit a different response than a house fire. 

What should I do if my address as displayed by 9-1-1 is not correct?
Contact your local Monterey County MSAG (Master Street Address Guide) County Coordinator.

Can I program my home alarm system to dial 9-1-1?
No, by law automatically activated dialing and annunciation systems are prohibited from calling 9-1-1. The law requires access to the system to be initiated by a person.Your home alarm must go to an alarm monitoring company who will contact the Dispatch Center on a priority 7 digit line.

What if I don't speak English?
9-1-1 systems in the State of California provide for immediate translation services for Spanish, Vietnamese, and Mandarin Chinese languages. Additionally, Monterey County Dispatch has access to AT&T Language Line services providing translation for over 140 languages.

What if I can only communicate by TDD or Computer?
All Monterey County Dispatchers are equipped with TDD (Teletype Device for the Deaf) detectors and can communicate with TDD's from their 9-1-1 workstation.