When You Call 9-1-1

The Okanogan County communications center is capable of receiving 9-1-1 telephone calls and text to 9-1-1. 
Call if you can, text if you can't make a voice call.

When you call 9-1-1 in Okanogan County a communication deputy answers your call and begins gathering information from you to understand the situation and determine what type of response is required (Police, Fire, EMS).  The communications deputy will enter your incident information into a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system where first responders may immediately view the gathered information.  The communications deputy then uses radio or telephone to advise the agency(s) with jurisdiction of the information gathered for the agency's emergency response.

One of the most important pieces of information to be gathered during a 9-1-1 call is the location of the emergency (the address, XY or latitude-longitude coordinates, landmarks nearby).  Knowing the location of the emergency allows the 9-1-1 Dispatchers to send the closest police, fire or EMS services.  

IMG_1917 - CopyCity, Colville Tribal and county planning departments coordinate to provide valid and accurate home and business owners with 9-1-1 addresses necessary to locate callers.

If the reported incident involves emergency medical response (EMS), a communications deputy may provide the caller with pre-arrival instructions to facilitate EMS having safe access to the patient.  Some situations may involve cardiac arrest or other medical conditions and the communications deputy may provide the caller telephonic CPR or other instructions until EMS responders arrive on scene.

Communications deputies monitor radio traffic and maintain contact with first responders in the field.  When an incident is entered into the CAD system, a communications deputy
IMG_4926BlurA - Copy - Copy
 dispatches available first responder resources and coordinates with the agencies, neighboring dispatch centers and specialty teams such as Special Response Team (SRT), Search and Rescue (SAR) and medical or Search and Rescue air support.

The purpose of the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center is to gather information about incidents and relay that information to agencies that provide the emergency and non-emergency services.


  • 9-1-1 emergency telephone calls reporting emergency incidents
  • Radio traffic from / to first respondersIMG_1917 - Copy
  • Non-emergency / administrative telephone calls

When to call 9-1-1

9-1-1 telephone lines are RESERVED for emergency situations only - situations requiring immediate police, fire or emergency medical assistance.  Emergencies include, but are not limited to, the following types of incidents:

  • Life-threatening situations
  • Immediate threats of to injury people or property damage
  • FiresLLAM-09A - Copy
  • Medical situations or injury requiring emergency medical attention
  • Crimes in-progress or crimes when the suspect is still in the area
  • Any crime involving bodily assault or injury
  • Any domestic violence crime
  • Motor vehicle accidents with injury or major damage and the parties are still on scene
  • Hit-and-run traffic incidents
  • Burglary (entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime such as theft, damage to property, etc.)
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Theft or intentional damage to property with at least $10,000 in loss or damagesIMG_0347A - Copy - Copy
  • Suspicious persons, vehicles or circumstances when in-progress or suspects are still in the area
  • Bomb threats, terrorists or hate-bias threats or acts
  • Hazardous or chemical spills
  • Natural gas / propane leaks
  • Smoke detector or carbon monoxide detectors activated
  • Sparking electrical hazards
  • Smoke in a building
  • Suspicious activity
  • Dangerous, threatening animals
  • Other similar types of dangerous or threatening situations to life and/or property

Successful Calls to 9-1-1DIspatcher-small

Be prepared to provide the information necessary to deliver services:
  • Know your location / address of the incident, hazards or obstacles to access the location.
  • Tell us what is happening, answer our questions as best you can.
  • Your name, address and telephone number.