Frequently Asked Questions

Below are commonly asked questions about 911 and preparedness.  If you have further questions, please contact Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency at 717-558-6800.

911 FAQ

Q: What should I know when I call 911?
A: You will be asked:  What is the address of the emergency?  What municipality is the emergency in?  What is the phone number you are calling from?  What is your name?  Tell me exactly what happened.

Q: Why do I have to give the municipality?
A: There are many street names and addresses that are repeated throughout Dauphin County, as well as other neighboring counties.  Verifying the township, borough or city helps ensure we are sending help to the correct location. 

Q: What are some things to remember when calling 911?
A: Try to remain calm and speak clearly; do not shout.  Answer the questions as best as you can.  Do not hang up until told to do so.

Q: Why do I have to answer to many questions when I call 911?
A: The questions are designed to gather vital information about the incident for the responders, as well as ensure the caller, victim(s), bystanders, and responders are safe. 

Q: Why does it take so long for police, fire, or EMS personnel to arrive?
A: Often times it takes less than 60 seconds to initiate a dispatch.  As soon as the telecommunicator gathers basic information, the event is entered into the Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) system while another dispatcher sends appropriate help.  Field providers then respond as they are available and prioritize incidents for response if during a particularly busy time. 

Q: Can I remain anonymous when I call 911?
A: Yes.  However, police prefer your name and phone number be obtained for their records.  If requested, this information will NOT be given out over the radio.

Q: What if I can’t remember the non-emergency number?
A: Dial 9-1-1.  We can take your information then provide you with the non-emergency number for next time.  Don’t hesitate to call. 

Q: What if I dial 911 by mistake?
A: Stay on the line and let us know if was a misdial.  Police will still be notified of the call and may respond to ensure there is no emergency.

For any questions pertaining to the radio system, email

Preparedness FAQ

Q: What kind of items should be included in my Ready Kit?
A: Water, food, battery-powered or hand crank radio, extra batteries, flashlight, first aid kit, dust mask, cell phone and chargers, prescription medication, cash, important family documents, etc.  More information can be found here and at

Q: How much water should I have on hand in case of an emergency?
A: It is recommended to have 1 gallon per person per day, for at least 3 days.  Don’t forget about pets!

Q: How can I find out if shelters are opened in my area?
A: Emergency instructions will be relayed via radio and TV.  It’s a good idea to have a battery-powered or hand crank radio available in case there is no power.

Q: Will a shelter be able to take me and my pets?
A: You will need to check with the shelter; some shelters are able to take pets, others are not equipped.

Q: Who should I notify if I or a household member has a physical disability or other limitation that could prevent evacuation?
A: Notify your local emergency management coordinator.  He/she can be contacted through your local municipal office.