CAROLINE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
SHERIFF A. A. "TONY" LIPPA, JR.
118 COURTHOUSE LANE
P.O. Box 39
BOWLING GREEN, VIRGINIA 22427
Phone: 804-633-1120 Fax: 804-633-1124 Dispatch: 804-633-5400
Dial 911 for all Emergencies - Anonymous Tip Line (804) 633-1133
Caroline County Emergency Communications Center
Emergency (Voice and TTY/TDD): 9-1-1
Non-Emergency: (804) 633-5400
Caroline County Emergency Communications Center
118 Courthouse Lane
Bowling Green, VA 22427
Enhanced 911, E-911 or E911 is a system used in North America that links emergency callers with the appropriate public resources. Three-digit emergency telephone numbers originated in the United Kingdom in 1937 and has spread to continents and countries across the globe. Other easy dial codes, including the 112 number adopted by the European Union in 1991, have been deployed to provide free-of-charge emergency calls.
In North America, where 9-1-1 was chosen as the easy access code, the system tries to automatically associate a location with the origin of the call. This location may be a physical address or other geographic reference information such as X/Y map coordinates. The caller's telephone number is used in various ways to derive a location that can be used to dispatch police, fire, emergency medical and other response resources. Automatic location of the emergency makes it quicker to locate the required resources during fires, break-ins, kidnappings, and other events where communicating one's location is difficult or impossible.
In North America the incoming 9-1-1 call is typically answered at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) of the governmental agency that has jurisdiction over the caller's location (see #Location below). When the 9-1-1 call arrives at the appropriate PSAP, it is answered by a specially trained official known as a Telecommunicator. In some jurisdictions the Telecommunicator is also the dispatcher of public safety response resources. When the call arrives at the PSAP, special computer software is used to display the location of the caller immediately upon arrival of the call.
The system only works in North America if the emergency telephone number 911 is called. Calls made to other telephone numbers, even though they may be listed as an emergency telephone number, may not enable this feature. Outside Canada and the United States this type of facility is often called caller location, though its implementation is dependent on how the telephone network processes emergency calls.
The first 911 system was installed in Haleyville, Alabama, in February 1968 as a way to quickly connect a subscriber to the local police station. This system did not identify the caller but did provide a means to access emergency services that had not previously been available.
The Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 standardized and mandated that 9,1,1 would be the digits to be dialed within the United States for "reporting an emergency to appropriate authorities and requesting assistance".
This system was quickly adapted and improved by other telephone companies to become the E911 system which provides both caller location and identification. A pioneering system was in place in Chicago by the mid-1970s, providing both police and fire departments access to the source location of emergency calls. Enhanced 911 is currently deployed in most metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada.
What is 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is the number most people in the U.S. and some in International countries call to get help in a police, fire or medical emergency. A 9-1-1 call goes over dedicated phone networks to the appropriate 9-1-1 answering point (PSAP) for the caller's location, and trained personnel then send the emergency help needed.
When should you call 911?
9-1-1 is only to be used in emergencies. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, fire or rescue. 9-1-1 is for emergencies, potential emergencies, or when an emergency is imminent.
Is there a danger to life or property?
Is there a serious medical emergency (chest pains, seizures, bleeding, etc?)
Is there any type of fire (building, vehicle, brush, etc?)
Is there any crime in-progress (robbery, burglary, prowler, fights, etc?)
Are there any other life threatening situations (traffic accident with injuries, stuck in high water, etc?)
Is the caller or someone else the victim of a crime?
If you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency, you should call 9-1-1. It is better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance.
Please, do not call 9-1-1 to report that electricity or other utilities are off; to notify authorities of traffic jams; to inquire about government services or to learn general information.
How can YOU help us?
When reporting an emergency:
Listen to instructions
Answer all questions
The person answering 9-1-1 is a trained dispatcher. They have been trained as to what questions to ask. Be prepared to follow the dispatcher's line of questioning. (e.g., WHEN did the incident occur, WHAT is happening, WHERE the situation is occurring, WHO is involved, is a WEAPON involved, what INJURIES have been sustained, etc.).
Where do I call for non-emergency assistance?
The Emergency Communications Center has several non-emergency telephone lines that are accessible to the public. For all non-emergency situations, please call 804-633-5400. Examples of calls that should be placed to the non-emergency number are:
Traffic accidents that do not involve injuries or hazards
Loud music or barking dogs
Late reported incidents such as theft with no suspect information
Requests for information
Why do dispatchers ask so many questions?
Dispatchers ask for pertinent information first - address, type of call, name of caller or those involved. Once the initial information is obtained, additional questions may be asked depending on the type of call. The questioning will not slow down the dispatching of the appropriate assistance. In emergency cases, this information is relayed immediately to field units so they may begin responding to the incident, while the dispatcher remains on the phone to obtain further details that are also relayed to the responding units as it is gathered, in real time. The dispatcher will further assist callers by giving instructions to callers on how to administer life saving techniques, such as CPR, during medical emergencies; to take steps to promote the personal safety of the caller, the victim and responding Police, Fire or EMS personnel, and to engage in those actions that preserve evidence to aid in the apprehension of suspects.
What should I do if I call 911 by mistake?
If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, DO NOT HANG UP . Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is all right. If a caller to 911 hangs up without stating the problem, the caller must be contacted in order to ensure that no actual emergency exits. This may involve the dispatching of an officer to your home or place of business in order to ensure that a problem does not exist. One common misconception that citizens have about dialing 911 by mistake is they will somehow get into trouble. This is not true!
How many calls does the center receive?
The Caroline County Emergency Communications Center handles approximately 30,000 telephone calls yearly. From these, approximately 25,000 calls are dispatched to Fire & Rescue personnel, Bowling Green Police, Animal Control, and the Sheriff's Office.
Can the center communicate with the speech/hearing-impaired?
Yes. The Emergency Communications Center is equipped with Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) enabling communications with the speech/hearing-impaired callers.
If a caller uses a TTY/TDD, the caller should:
Stay calm, place the phone receiver in the TTY, dial 9-1-1.
After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times. This may help shorten the time necessary to respond to the call.
Give the call taker time to connect their TTY. If necessary, press the TTY keys again. The 9-1-1 call taker should answer and type "GA" for Go Ahead.
Tell what is needed-police, fire department, or ambulance. Give your name, phone number and the address where help is needed
Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the call taker's questions.
If a deaf or hearing/speech impaired caller does not have a TTY/TDD, the caller should call 9-1-1 and do not hang up. Not hanging up leaves the line open. With most 9-1-1 calls, the caller's address is displayed on the call taker's screen and help will be sent.
Can I call 9-1-1 from a cellular phone?
Yes. When 9-1-1 is dialed on a cellular phone, a call from within Chesterfield County will be routed to the Emergency Communication Center based on cellular tower site location. Depending on the type of call, geographical area and other factors, your call may need to be transferred to another jurisdiction or the Virginia State Police.
I speak a foreign language. Can the 9-1-1 Center communicate with me during an emergency?
Yes. When necessary, a 9-1-1 call taker can add an interpreter from an outside service to the line. The Emergency Communications Center provides a service made available from Language Line Inc. This service provides us over-the-phone interpretation of more than 140 languages, 24 hours a day. A non-English speaking caller may hear a short conversation in English and some clicking sounds as the interpreter is added to the line.
What is the 4 p.m. Law?
The 4 p.m. Law is a ban (or restriction) on open air burning before 4 o'clock in the afternoon if your fire is within 300 feet of the woods or dry grass which can carry the fire to the woods. You are allowed to burn between 4 p.m and midnight as long as you take proper care and precaution and attend your fire at all times.
When is the 4 p.m. Law in effect?
The law goes into effect on February 15th each year and runs through April 30th.
Why is there a 4 p.m. Law?
The 4 p.m. Law was adopted during the 1940's to reduce the number of wildfires which occurred each spring. During this time of the year, Virginia traditionally has an increased number of fires. During the winter months, winds are usually elevated, the relative humidity is lower and the fuels on the forest floor are extremely dry, having "cured" without having the tree leaves to shade them.
Why 4 o'clock?
After 4 p.m., winds usually calm down and the relative humidity levels are on the increase, both of which reduce the potential for a debris fire or any outdoor open air fire to escape your control.
What is the main cause of wildfires in Virginia?
Debris burning is the Number One cause of wildfires, closely followed by intentionally set or "arson" fires.
How many wildfires burn in Virginia each year and how many acres are burned?
Virginia has records which date back to 1925, and our 30 year average is 1,449 fires for 8,338 acres per year. 1941 saw the most fires with 3,697, and 1930 had the most acreage burned at 333,023 acres.
Can I have a campfire if I put rocks around it?
NO. Campfires are considered an open air fire. A pit fire or campfire may be approved if it meets ALL the following conditions: Fire is BELOW GROUND LEVEL, continuously monitored AND completely enclosed with cinder blocks AND a ¼" or smaller metal screen is placed over the enclosure. Extra precautions should be taken to clear a 20-foot circle of all flammable materials and have water and a shovel available.
If I take all precautions with my fire after 4 p.m. and it does escape and start a fire, am I responsible for the suppression cost?
Yes. Although you may have taken all proper precautions and obtained any locally required permits, whoever started the fire is responsible should the fire escape.
What is the penalty for violating the 4 p.m. law?
Violation of the 4 p.m. law is a class 3 misdemeanor with a fine of not more than $500.
Can I use my charcoal or gas fire fired barbeque grill?
Yes, however you must take proper care and precaution by clearing all flammable material from around it and you must stay with it until it is completely extinguished or turned off.
Are building contractors and road construction jobs exempt from the 4 p.m. law?
No, however if the burning operations are greater than 300 feet from the woods or flammable grass/vegetation which would allow the fire to spread to the woods the 4 p.m. law does not apply.
Understanding Cell Phone Calls
911 NEEDS TO KNOW WHERE TO GO
When calling 911, one of the first things you'll be asked to provide is the location of the emergency you're reporting.
The 911 call taker may not automatically know your location or may ask you to confirm it.
Make sure you provide as much detail on your location as possible, such as apartment number, landmarks, cross streets and mileposts.
REMAIN CALM, BE PREPARED
Try to stay calm, give information and follow all instructions.
911 call takers are trained to get information from you, listen carefully and answer as concisely as possible.
Remember that even if the call taker is still asking questions or giving instructions, help is on the way.
HELP 911 HELP YOU
The more you know what to expect when you call 911, the faster 911 can get you the nelp you need.
You can save a life! Follow all the instructions the 911 call taker fives you, and don't hang up until the call taker does. If you get disconnected, call back and explain that you were cut off.
UNDERSTANDING CELL PHONE CALLS
The current 911 system is designed for voice communications only.
Texting 911 is not an option in most areas; you must dial 911 and speak with a call taker.
Pull over when driving, if possible. This reduces the chance of a dropped call.
Lock your keypad when you're not using your phone, so 911 isn't dialed by mistake. For the same reason, don't put 911 on speed dial.
Do not give old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still dial 911.
If you accidentally call 911, stay on the line and tell the call taker that you do not have an emergency.
Calling 911 from a cell phone is always free and it is never necessary to dial an area code.
if you are not sure you have an emergency to report, call 911 and let the call taker decide.
The Mission of the Caroline County Emergency Communications Department is to protect life and property of the citizens of Caroline County and to serve as the vital link between the public and other public safety organizations through professionalism and dedication. To gather and relay information accurately and professionally and support operational effectiveness by maintaining and enhancing current technological capabilities.
A highly motivated team of professionals prepared to perform at the highest level of excellence and dedicated to promptly answering, entering and dispatching emergency calls for service.
Caroline County E-911
About E-911 Dispatch
When You Call 911
Office Phone: (804) 633-1120
Fax Number: (804) 633-1124
Hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Call our Anonymous Tip Line @ (804) 633-1133