911 San Francisco Questions

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I'm of the impression that calls to the San Francisco emergency number,  
415-553-8090 are handled at the same call center with the same system as  
calls to 911.  Someone tells me this is incorrect.

The discussion stems from questions about a park near two state freeways,  
and whether during 4th of July fireworks a person with a cell phone should  
call 911 or should call 415-553-8090, the situation being that their cell  
phone might connect with the CHP dispatch in Vallejo due to the phone's  
proximity to the state freeways.

One person who claims to have knowledge of the system says that 553-8090 is  
handled differently by different people than SF's 911 service.  This ASSUMES  
that the cell phone is far enough away from the freeways that it connects  
with SF's 911 service directly and not the CHP's.

So, can anyone here explain how SF's emergency numbers, 911 and  
415-553-8090, are handled, and how they might be different, and whether  
there is any significant delay or staffing problems between the two phone  
numbers?  Also, how much of a delay there might be between the CHP's Vallejo  
routing and calling directly into SF's system would also be good to know.

This is not a hypothetical situation; it involves Bernal Hill park where the  
grass is dry and people have accidentally set fires nearly every year (and  
sometimes burned homes) due to use of fireworks on the hill.  People have  
wanted to know the VERY fastest wasy to contact the SF fire department.

Thanks.




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Re: 911 San Francisco Questions
On 7/6/2014 11:41 PM, David Kaye wrote:
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Hi David,

I had a similar question regarding my town (Los Altos CA) and I got
the definitive answer by visiting the local PD HQ on my way to a
haircut one day years ago after abandoning my landlines in 2002 and
going cellphone only (though I now have an Ooma Telo system for home
since March 2014).

The answer for Los Altos is to call 650-947-2779 which is the first entry
in my cell phone's addressbook which I named "911 LOS ALTOS ALTERNATE" to
be easy to identify in an emergency; that number goes to the exact same
processing desk as a landline 911 call and an Ooma E911 call -- in other
words, it's the same folks at the same desks.  Calling 911 from my cell
phone would likely go to the CHP given the cell tower near my home and 280.

The answer for San Francisco is similar as seen Googling this search term:

    how do san francisco 911 and 415-553-8090 differ

where this is the first hit and it explains 911 and 415-553-8090 go to
the same folks in San Francisco:

    San Francisco Police Department : Contact Us
    http://sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=38

Thad

Re: 911 San Francisco Questions
On 7/7/2014 4:15 PM, Thad Floryan wrote:
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And this page confirms it for Los Altos:

    http://www.losaltosca.gov/police/page/contact-police

where we see:

    Emergency - Police, Fire and Medical (TDD Access)         9-1-1
    Emergency Alternate to 911 (dial when using a cell phone) (650) 947-2779

Thad

Re: 911 San Francisco Questions

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Well, yes, but I was looking for a more technical answer.  For instance, is  
a call to 911 within SF treated like a remote call-forward, or exactly how  
does it work?




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Re: 911 San Francisco Questions
On 7/7/2014 10:35 PM, David Kaye wrote:
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A 911 call is NOT the same as regular call to the police department's  
listed "business" line.  Wireline 911 calls typically ride dedicated  
trunks to a Selective Router (a specialized phone switch) that  
determines what PSAP (public safety answering point) the phone number's  
location is assigned to.  Then the call goes to the PSAP on a dedicated  
circuit, not a listed number, and the calling party information  
(including address) pops up on the dispatcher's screen. The caller  
cannot hang up the 911 call; if they do, the PSAP can ring it back as  
they have seized the line (the opposite of the usual calling party  
control rule -- this latter function is unlikely to work on some VoIP  
systems).

Wireless 911 is handled differently. The phone and network use GPS to  
estimate the calling location, the call goes to a (typically regional)  
mobile 911 PSAP, and the dispatcher gets the coordinates from the  
network, which can display on a map.


Re: 911 San Francisco Questions
On 7/7/2014 8:41 PM, Fred Goldstein wrote:
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[...]

Hi Fred,

Both the San Francisco and Los Altos police departments clearly state
on their web pages to use the alternate emergency number from a cell
phone.   The alternate emergency number is *NOT* the business line of
the respective police departments.  Here are the two web pages again:

    San Francisco Police Department : Contact Us
    http://sf-police.org/index.aspx?page=38

    where we see:

    Life Threatening Emergencies or Crimes in Progress 911 (within
    San Francisco)

    The purpose of San Francisco's 911 Emergency Telephone System is
    to provide for the immediate response of police, fire, or medical
    personnel for emergency occurrences.  To accomplish this, it is
    imperative that the calls received on 911 lines be restricted to
    those situations that require immediate dispatching of Police,
    Paramedic, or Fire Department personnel.

    Note: When calling 911 on a cellular phone near a highway, the
    call is connected to The California Highway Patrol (CHP) dispatch
    center.  In other areas in San Francisco, the call will connect
    directly to SF dispatch.  You can also dial directly to SF
    dispatch: 415-553-8090

    Non-Emergency Situations - 415-553-0123 {i.e., their business line)

and for Los Altos CA (where I live):

    http://www.losaltosca.gov/police/page/contact-police

    where we see:

    Emergency - Police, Fire and Medical (TDD Access)         9-1-1
    Emergency Alternate to 911 (dial when using a cell phone) (650) 947-2779
    [...]
    24-Hour Business Phone                                   (650) 947-2770

Back when I was working (I'm now retired) I had the "ALTERNATE to 911" numbers
for every city in which I had clients, customers, and employers in the address
book (aka contact list) at the very beginning (i.e., first page) like so by
preceding the deliberately uppercased NAME entries with "911" per:

    911 CUPERTINO ALTERNATE
    911 LOS ALTOS ALTERNATE
    911 MENLO PARK ALTERNATE
    911 MOUNTAIN VIEW ALT
    911 PALO ALTO ALTERNATE
    911 SANTA CLARA ALT
    911 SAN JOSE ALTERNATE
    911 SAN MATEO ALTERNATE
    911 SUNNYVALE ALTERNATE
    [...]

Those numbers are still there because they encompass most of my travels
on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Thad

Re: 911 San Francisco Questions
On 7/8/2014 1:24 AM, Thad Floryan wrote:
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It may not be the business line, but it is also not an E911 trunk into  
the PSAP.  Since *wireless* E911 does not normally go to the local PD,  
those who want to reach it from a wireless phone need to dial a specific  
number.  But that is a plain old CO trunk, not coming from the Selective  
Router.

Back before the E in E911 added a database lookup, all 911 calls from a  
given switch were routed to the same place.  Since a lot of the City of  
Boston had Brookline numbers (about a third of Brookline's numbers,  
IIRC, were in Boston), and another section had Milton numbers, people in  
those neighborhoods needed to call the PD's old 7-digit number (IIRC  
338-1212) or get the wrong PD, but they had direct tie lines from those  
PDs to Boston to pass along the many 911 calls they got.



Re: 911 San Francisco Questions

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Just to throw my $0.02 in here.... in San Jose, we've been told by the
SJPD to use the 10-digit emergency number when calling from a cell
phone. It's just like using a landline in that the call, and GPS
information goes directly to the emergency dispatcher. Even if you
can't talk, as long as the line stays open, they will dispatch
emergency vehicles to your location. Both fire and police if they don't
know the nature of the emergency. However, the drawback is that it is
area code specific so if you are out of your area code, then dialing
9-1-1 is your best bet so that the CHP can route your call.

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replacing invalid with sonic.

San Francisco 911 massively dysfunctional (was: Re: 911 San Francisco Questions)
An article in today's San Francisco Chronicle:

911 system in state of emergency: understaffed, ill-equipped
8:59 am, Sunday, July 13, 2014

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/911-system-in-state-of-emergency-understaffed-5617774.php

hints that calling 911 may be moot and that it may be better
to put out your own fires and/or drive yourself to the ER at
the nearest hospital even if your guts are spilling out.

Thad

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