ALERT: What to Know Before Calling 911 from a Cell Phone

POSTED: MAY 21, 2019

Oak Ridge first responders are urging the community to remember a potentially life-saving step when calling 911 from a cell phone – immediately state your location to the dispatcher. The Oak Ridge Fire and Police Departments are working to share this important information after incidents involving cell signals were routed to the wrong 911 center, potentially delaying emergency response.

Emergency service organizations (fire, police, ambulance, and dispatch) and 911 callers have no control over which cell tower is utilized by an individual’s phone. If you are making a 911 call from your cell phone, you should always advise the dispatcher of the city and/or county you are calling from and your exact location.

There are four 911 dispatch centers in Anderson County, so a 911 cell phone call could be routed to any one of the dispatch agencies. However, the City of Oak Ridge is also surrounded by four counties. If an individual makes a cell phone call for emergency assistance in an area close to the city limits, the call could be routed to Knox County Central Dispatch or Loudon County 911 Emergency Communications Dispatch on Oak Ridge’s southern border, Anderson County 911 on the eastern border, or Roane County Central Dispatch on the western border.

Therefore, if you are in the City of Oak Ridge and must use your cell phone to request emergency assistance, remember to tell the dispatcher that you are located inside the City of Oak Ridge and provide your address or exact location, being as specific as you can. Doing so allows emergency personnel to respond as quickly as possible.

Questions can be directed to the Oak Ridge Fire Department at (865) 425-3520 or the Oak Ridge Police Department at (865) 425-3504.