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Emergency Services




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Emergency Services 

April 9-1-1

Making dinner reservations.
Finding a babysitter.
Asking what time the parade starts.

What do the above tasks have in common?   Each of these has been a reason that someone has called 9-1-1.   Even though 9-1-1 has been the emergency number in La Crosse County since 1983, people still turn to this vital public safety service for non-emergencies and, in some cases, trivial reasons.

The concept of 9-1-1 seems simple enough – one easily-remembered telephone number that serves as the vital link between the public and emergency services.  However, there is enough miss-guided use of the system that April has been designated as 9-1-1 Education Month.

In 2011, La Crosse County received approximately 30,000 9-1-1 calls.  Most of those calls are for the intended purpose – an emergency response from police, fire-fighting and emergency medical services.  But in more than 5,000 occasions, public safety communications needed to resort to a 9-1-1 check where law enforcement officers are sent to determine if the call is truly an emergency.  These calls are the result of inappropriate use of the 9-1-1 number, an open line where no one speaks or a hang-up before a 9-1-1 dispatcher can speak to the caller.


The following are some general guidelines for 9-1-1:

  • 9-1-1 is for police, fire and medical emergencies.
  • Know the location of the incident. Providing an accurate address is critically important especially when making a wireless 9-1-1 call.
  • If you call 9-1-1, don’t hang up.
  • Don’t call 9-1-1 for jokes or prank calls.
  • 9-1-1 cannot receive text, pictures or videos from cell phones.
  • When you call 9-1-1, pay attention to the questions that you are being asked.
  • Stay on the line with the 9-1-1 call taker and answer all questions. The more information they have, the better they are able to help you.
  • Stay calm and speak clearly.


For further questions or for additional information, contact La Crosse County Emergency Services at 608-785-9634.

La Crosse County Public Safety Dispatchers - Helping save lives, one call at a time.