Calling 911

When to call 911

In an emergency, call 911 immediately from any wireless or landline phone.

An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police or fire department. Examples include:
  • A fire
  • A car crash, especially if someone is injured
  • A medical emergency, such as someone who is unconscious, gasping for air or not breathing
The Phoenix Fire Department's Regional Dispatch Center is considered a "Secondary Answering Point" in the 911 System. This means when a Surprise resident dials 911 to report an emergency the call will be answered by the Surprise Police Department first. The Police Department is known as the "Primary Answering Point" and they will determine what the emergency is before sending the incident off via the CAD "Computer Aided Dispatch" system to be dispatched by a Fire Communications Operator. The operator will be responsible for "dispatching" the call, or letting the responding units know where they are responding and what type of emergency they are responding to. This operator position also handles all administrative radio traffic such as units going available or unavailable.

Automatic Vehicle Location

The CAD "Computer Aided Dispatch" knows where every piece of equipment is at all times due to global positioning technology. This is commonly referred to as “AVL” or Automatic Vehicle Location. This technology not only selects the closest most appropriate unit to dispatch, it is also a tool used by the Incident Taker. A caller will be reassured with information such as the precise location of the unit that is responding to their call. The CAD system knows what to dispatch based on response requirements for each call type in the system. We call these call types “nature codes”. When we have an emergency that involves someone having a heart attack this nature code has a pre-set response requirement and units are selected based on that criterion.