“The 5 W’s” Telecommunicators Need to Obtain:

Where? – The location should be the first thing you disclose to the telecommunicator. If for any reason contact with communications is lost, the location is known.

Tips: Make sure to include apartment number, lot number, or any other information such as the name of the apartment or business when giving your location. If you do not know where you are, look for a mailbox, street sign, or any type of landmark that can give the telecommunicator an idication of where you may be.

What? – The telecommunicator needs to know the nature of the incident, so the appropriate agency can respond. The Telecommunicator may ask for your telephone number, description of person or vehicle involved, if any.

Tips: Be specific to the telecommunicator of what exactly is going on. Let them know if you need police, fire, or an ambulance. Description of vehicle; color, year, make, model, body style, any other descriptors, and the license tag (CYMBAL). Description of person; race, sex, hair/eye color, height, clothing description (head to toe, inside/out).

When? – The telecommunicator needs to know if the incident is occuring at the present time or if it has already taken place. This is very important to the agencies responding.

Tips: Give the telecommunicator an approximate time frame of when the incident occured.  

Who? – Law inforcement needs to know who they need to speak with when arriving on scene and names of people involved in the incident.

Tips: Callers can remain anonymous if requested. If you know the parties involved, please give their first and last name if known.

Weapons? – If weapons are involved, the telecommunicator needs to know immediately. This information is vitally important for the safety of the officer and/or emergency personnel responding to the scene.

Tips: Let the telecommunicator know what type of weapon is being used. If there is not a weapon involved, still let the telecommunicator know.