CRESA Always Here, Always Ready

Request Records

Would you like to request 9-1-1 or other Public Records? Visit the CRESA Public Records Portal to submit your request.

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When to Call 9-1-1

and when not to! It is important to know when you should or should not call.

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Prepare, Be Ready

and get involved! Learn how to be prepared for an emergency.

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Your PNW Hot Weather Guide

Hotter temperatures are becoming more and more common in the PNW. When hot temperatures are expected and the NWS Portland issues a heat advisory or warning, here’s what to consider in keeping Family, Friends, and pets safe during heat-related events here in the Pacific Northwest.

Things To Consider:

  • Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible unless you’re sure your body has a high tolerance for heat.
  • Drink plenty of fluids but avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar.
  • Never leave any person or pet in a parked vehicle.
  • Check frequently on people who are elderly, ill or may need help. If you need help, arrange to have family, friends or neighbors check in with you at least twice a day throughout warm weather periods.
  • Make sure pets have plenty of water
  • Find a local cooling center.

If You Go Outside:

  • Plan strenuous outdoor activities for early or late in the day when temperatures are cooler; then gradually build up tolerance for warmer conditions.
  • Take frequent breaks when working outdoors.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sun block and light-colored, loose-fitting clothes when outdoors.
  • At first signs of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps), move to a cooler location, rest for a few minutes and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better.
  • Avoid sunburn: Use a sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (sun protection factor) rating.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
  • NEVER leave anyone, especially children or pets, in a closed, parked vehicle.

Check Regularly On:

  • Infants and young children
  • People aged 65 or older
  • People who have a mental illness
  •  Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching

Even on hot days, many rivers and lakes in Southwest Washington remain cold:

  • Cold water − especially when high or swift − can immobilize even the strongest swimmer in minutes.
  • Know the water: Washington waters are cold enough to cause hypothermia even on the hottest summer day. Hypothermia can weaken even strong swimmers.
  • Know your limits: drowning often occurs when a swimmer tires.
  • Wear a life jacket when swimming anywhere without lifeguards or whenever you boat, jet ski, go tubing or do other water sports.
  • Ensure children wear life jackets. Inflatable toys and mattresses will not keep children safe. By law, children 12 and younger must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or vest on all vessels 18 feet or smaller.
  • Never leave children unsupervised in or near water, even for a minute. Drowning can happen swiftly and silently. Supervision requires complete attention, even if other adults are present.
  • Always avoid alcohol when swimming or boating.

Heat Related Illness:

Although any one can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on Infants and young children, people aged 65 or older, and those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure.

Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Warning signs of heat stroke may include a body temperature above 103°F; red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

If you see any of these signs, have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim. Place the victim in a tub of cool water or in a cool shower, or spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose. Do not give the victim fluids to drink.

Less severe heat related illnesses include heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Signs are heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and vomiting. Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. Seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last more than an hour.

Heat cramps usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body’s salt and moisture. The low salt level in the muscles causes painful cramps.

CRESA’s Doug Smith-Lee Awarded Prestigious Dr. Jeff Clawson Leadership Award

In February, we shared that CRESA had been re-accredited for the 8th time as a Medical Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE) by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED), There are only 11 emergency dispatch centers throughout the world that have achieved this feat.  

In April, while the quality assurance team from CRESA was receiving this certification in person,  Doug Smith-Lee was awarded the Dr. Jeff Clawson Leadership Award.  This award is the highest honor there is at the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch.  The honor is so prestigious, it’s not given out every year. The award exemplifies individuals that have dedicated commitment and passion for saving lives, implementing protocol and helping others understand protocols, so they too, can carry the torch to continue to save lives and impact our communities in a positive way.  

Here are some of Doug’s achievements that were mentioned:

  • Has been involved in medical dispatch since the 80’s
  • Served as a paramedic for many years
  • Implemented a full comprehensive system for EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) in 1993
  • Was the manager for Oregon health services
  • Involved in Homeland Security Activities through work at CRESA Emergency Management
  • Is on the College of Fellows for the National Academy 
  • Is actively involved in EMD/Quality Assurances processes in the Pacific NW and recently guided BOEC (Bureau of Emergency Communication for Portland) as they recently implemented Priority Dispatch EMD.

CRESA is the only 911 agency in the Pacific NW that is an Accredited Center of Excellence (ACE with the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch.)  Doug was key to making that happen.  Doug made it a requirement in the ambulance contracts for Clark County/ Vancouver  that they must follow our lead and achieve high ranking standards as well, resulting in, of course, a higher patient care from start to finish.

Some of the benefits of CRESA’s re-accreditation include:

  • Ensuring we continue to safely match emergency resources based on the patients’ needs;
  • Increasing community confidence in the service the agency provides; and
  • Increasing consistency and professionalism.

As part of the presentation, Doug was also presented with a check, to the charity of his choice, for $500 in which Doug chose Behind the badge.   

From all of us here at CRESA, we just want to say Congrats and Thank You to Doug, for the tremendous role in seeking, setting and ensuring we continue to strive in providing the highest level of service we can for the residents of Clark County WA.  Congrats once more!!  So proud to have you on the team!! 

ARES/Races – Amateur Radio

In Clark County there are two amateur radio (Ham) groups that support emergency communications in disasters,  ARES and EYEWARN.

Founded in 1989 Clark County ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) is a volunteer organization of skilled and licensed Amateur Radio operators who provide emergency communication services during emergencies and disasters to CRESA and other public and private service agencies in Clark County Washington.

One thing 2020 showed us, is that our community needs a volunteer corps that is both mission ready and mission adaptable. In 2021 our amateur radio responders addressed the adaptability challenge in innovative, timely, and locally effective ways.  ARES leadership implemented a revised concept of operations to clarify the roles of various amateur radio response element; creating a common and focused program of services.  This was followed by a new training focus that looks to help ARES members to become multirole ‘volunteers with communications’ as opposed to simply emergency communicators; greatly enhancing the value and services ARES provides to Clark County.  And finally; a formal agreement was established between ARES and the Clark County Amateur Radio Club, creating a potential pool of over 300 additional emergency responders available to CRESA and other served agencies.  

In 2021, there were 99 ARES members who volunteered pent over 3252 hours supporting emergency activations, numerous exercises, and coordinating with other groups such as Alaska ARES, Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and EYEWARN.

EYEWARN is a ‘Clark County Amateur Radio Club’ program that reaches out to the over 2000 amateur radio operators in the county to ‘Report What They See’ in the event of a disaster.   The core EYEWARN member group consists of a director, and 8 net control stations. 

We greatly appreciate the time and effort our ARES/RACES volunteers have put in these past 12 months to adjust to the challenges we are looking toward. Please join me in thanking them for their dedication to supporting emergency services in Clark County

Thank you

Brian Landreth

CRESA Emergency Management Coordinator

National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to recognize the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges, to build stronger communities and be a force that transforms the world. Each year, we shine a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve, recognizing and thanking volunteers who lend their time, talent and voice to make a difference in their communities.

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. Today, as people strive to lead lives that reflect their values, the expression of civic life has evolved. Whether online, at the office, or the local food bank; whether with a vote, a voice, or a wallet – doing good comes in many forms, and we recognize and celebrate them all.

Americans volunteer over 8.8 billion hours annually. Volunteers help organizations like yours fill critical gaps in service for nearly every community in the U.S. Without our nation’s volunteers, we wouldn’t have some of the programs that many communities rely on today.

National Volunteer Week began as–and continues to be–a national recognized week that formalizes the recognition of volunteers in our communities. Organizations of all scopes and sizes should take the time to thank our neighbors, strangers, friends, and family who selflessly give their time to help others. 

Here at CRESA, we would like to highlight all of our Public Safety Volunteers providing countless hours to the organizations they serve. Thank you to all of our ARES/Races, CERT, NOW, Fire Corps, Medical Reserve Corps, Search and Rescue, as well as our CRESA Public Education and EOC Volunteers who give tirelessly of themselves to better our community!



Vancouver Police – NOW

The Vancouver Police Department’s Neighbors on Watch (NOW) volunteer program engages community members to serve as the extra eyes and ears for police during highly visible and non-confrontational patrols.  NOW was formed in 2008 and many early Academy recruits remain in the program today.  Our mission is to reduce crime and make Vancouver a safer place, improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods, shopping centers and parks and increase collaboration between community members and police.  NOW volunteers have served our community through patrols, call-outs for missing people, identifying stolen vehicles and more.  While our main function is to serve our community during patrols, we also have long and short-term projects to suit all skills and physical abilities. 

“The Vancouver Police Department’s mission is to partner with the community to preserve life, protect property and enhance livability through equitable law enforcement and effective use of resources.  Volunteers help us work toward this mission every day.  The volunteers in the NOW program represent some of the best characteristics our community has to offer: resilience, service and dedication.  The Vancouver Police Department is proud to highlight and thank our volunteers during National Volunteer Week.” – Lieutenant McAvoy Shipp

CERT – Community Emergency Response Teams


The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT volunteers can assist others following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. Whether interested in learning to take care of themselves and their family, help their neighbors, and/or support their community, the CERT Basic Training program educates volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, such as stay-at-home parents, engineers, students, and seniors.  Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters is built and enhanced.

Thank You

Interest. Dedication. Enthusiasm. Perseverence. These are words I use to describe the CERT, Clark County, WA volunteers. As our program has re-organized and re-structured itself over the past few years, you have continued to show up, participate, offer ideas, and support each other and our purpose. You continue to help educate your family, friends, and neighbors on the importance of emergency preparedness, understanding the potential impact a disaster or major event could have on our community. As we grow our program, learn new skills, and take on additional responsibilities as a team, I look forward to continuing our work together. Thank you for being a part of CERT, Clark County, WA. You are appreciated!

Jodi Blackwood

Program Manager 

CERT Clark County, WA

Thank You… from CRESA Director & Community

This year as we truly kick off National Telecommunications week… We want to start with a Thank You from our CRESA Director, Dave Fuller as well as our Community….

Behind the Headset

What if no one answered 9-1-1

Have you ever wondered what you would do if 911 didn’t answer?  Unfortunately, it’s pretty likely that in the last 5-8 years 911 service or your telephone service has experienced some type of outage.  If you were lucky, you didn’t need 911 during those outages – but what if you did?  The voice and data systems that provide wireline and wireless services to consumers and the 911 system form a complex network that supports your 911 call from the device you call from all the way through to the 911 call taker – we like to refer to this continuum of service as “from call maker to call taker”.

With so many providers, networks, hardware and software playing a part in your phone call to 911 it’s not surprising that there might be an outage of some sort.  Who is affected and what services are affected can be very difficult to isolate and identify – and this is where you come in.  Depending on the circumstance you may have different options.  Below we identify some options for you to try depending on the circumstance:

If you have an emergency and reach for your phone to call 911 and don’t have a dial tone or are unable to make the call –  what can you do? 

  • Ask someone else to call on a different line or device / phone.  Your phone may be damaged or out of service, so asking another person to try can help identify if the issue is isolated to you.
  • Use a different service provider to make the call.  If your cell phone can’t get through, try your landline.  Or ask your friend or coworker, who has a different cell phone provider, to make the call.  Sometimes one provider is having an issue, but others aren’t.
  • Try texting to 911.  Sometimes a voice call won’t work, but a text will.

If you have an emergency but when you call 911 it rings but no one ever answers – what can you do?

  • Don’t hang up!  Remember that our 911 call takers and dispatchers can get very busy and while we prioritize incoming 911 calls as the first ones to answer, you may have to wait.  Our telephone system is designed to put you into a queue if we are unable to answer the phone at around 45 seconds.  You will hear a message if this happens.  Hold on the line and wait for the call taker to pick up.  I know it seems like a long time, but trust us, we are doing the very best we can.

If you have an emergency and all the above fails – what can you do?

  • Call our ten digit emergency number – 360-696-4461.  We have a restricted number of calls we can take at one time on this line, so you could hear a busy signal when you call.
  • Call 311.  Remember 311 is our non-emergency line, but these calls are delivered on a different network than our 911 calls, so if 911 is down we may be able to receive calls on 311.
  • Call the ten digit equivalent to 311 – 360-693-3111.  Sometimes the 311 short code doesn’t work for certain areas or certain providers.  If you can’t get through dialing 311 you can try the ten digit line instead.

At CRESA, we  have a talented, compassionate staff that we are not only proud of for the work they do while at CRESA, but also for their dedication to the communities they live in.  Like many jobs in Public Safety, the role of a 9-1-1 Dispatcher brings with it great stress.  This career path isn’t for everyone, and there is much more involved to be successful than just managing a switchboard.  Our 9-1-1 Dispatchers and Call-Takers need to stay professional and take the lead to help get critical details from callers, all while helping send the correct help to those in need.  

We are proud of our dedicated staff and the leaders they are outside the walls of CRESA.   Your “first” First-Responders are  dedicated to the communities they live in outside of their work hours.  The faces of CRESA run deep within the communities we serve to help make them just a little bit better!  CRESA Cares… Behind the Headset, and in Our Community!

Employee of The YEAR – 2021

Each year, CRESA employees have a chance to nominate peers for Employee of the Year who demonstrate the CRESA Values. This year, Sarah J. has been named CRESA Employee of the Year! 

Sarah J. CRESA 2021 Employee of the Year

Here are Sarah’s nomination: 

Sarah J. stared at CRESA March 9th, 2015 as a trainee for 911 Call Taking and Dispatching and is currently a Certified Training Officer.  Sarah’s dedication, professionalism and positivity during this past year in performance of her job duties aligns with the values and attributes for CRESA Employee of the Year.  Below are some of the specific written nominations.

Sarah is one of those people who works well with everyone. She always is trying to find ways to make CRESA a better place whether its making sure people are celebrated for their accomplishments, birthdays, to trying to problem solve when issues arise. She has been training non-stop for the last few years and there are many successful trainees that are a product of her dedication. I often refer to her as the “Super-Trainer” because not only is she making sure trainees get all correct things signed off and experienced but she is constantly willing to adjust the training plan to help benefit the floor when staffing challenges arise.  Sarah’s presence on the floor makes many people smile as she brings a sense of humor and kindness that is just what we all need in the line of work we do. She is not afraid to speak up if there is something that needs addressing but always does it in a respectful and professional way.

Sarah is always so detailed in her work, having the dedication to the job and does the job well. Every call is treated with professionalism. She is, in my opinion, one of the best trainers here. She is tremendously supportive of her fellow coworkers. She is one of the only ones I’ve noticed who specifically asks if it’s OK for her to leave at the end of her shift, basically offering her services for longer if it helps the floor.

Sarah J. is an amazing asset to CRESA and is like our own personal cheerleader. She never misses an opportunity to show others how important they are to CRESA.

Thank you for your attention to detail and commitment to people, both those you work with and those on the other end of your headset.  We applaud your tenacity and dedication for the good of all things 911 related. 

We asked Sarah to share a little about herself, in her own words:

How long have you worked for CRESA?

7 years

What is the best part of working for CRESA?  

I don’t think I can name just one thing! First of all, I have the privilege of helping others every single day. Sometimes that help is big, like coaching someone through CPR, or working a police radio during a major incident. Sometimes that help is smaller, like providing resources to a citizen, or sending police to a traffic hazard. No two shifts are the same. Next, I work alongside the best of the best. I spend every shift surrounded by smart, hard working, funny, and kind people who all bring something special to the workplace. We truly are a family – it might sound cliché, but it is a fact. My coworkers are incredible! And lastly, I enjoy training new dispatchers. It is really exciting to see them progress, and to find ways to accommodate different learning styles. OH! And the 4 days on / 4 days off schedule is AMAZING.

What was the most interesting job you did before CRESA?

My prior work history includes managing a Cinnabon bakery, working at an HVAC company, and working in several different positions at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. The most interesting job was the position I first had at PHSW. I was a dispatcher for the housekeeping department, and it was in that job that I learned a lot about the healthcare world. Hospital housekeepers have a HARD job and I have the utmost respect for them! As a dispatcher I would assign housekeepers to newly vacated rooms that needed cleaned, while tracking data and the flow of the housekeepers throughout the hospital. There were time requirements for “turning around” a patient room, and it was a really interesting job! I also spent time working in the Behavioral Health Department at PHSW, and this too was very interesting. I was their Administrative Assistant, and during my time there I met incredible people in that department who made a major impact on my life. It was also very eye opening to learn about the mental healthcare field, the mental health resources available in our community, the importance of mental healthcare access, etc.

Brag about your family. 

I have an amazing family!! My immediate family includes my husband Michael, and my sons, Joshua and Jacob. Michael and I met while working at PHSW (where he is an IT Analyst). He likes to say we met because I kept calling IT for a broken printer and he “saved the day” but that isn’t the full story!! Joshua is 23 years old and is currently stationed in Great Falls, Montana serving our country in the Air Force as a mechanic. Jacob is 20 years old, and a Sophomore at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. I love being a mom! We also have a chocolate lab named Kayak, she is a crazy goofy girl! Beyond that, I am blessed to have a very close extended family. I talk to my parents almost daily, I have two sisters who are incredibly special to me, and many other relatives who are an important part of my life and support system.

Tell us some of your hobbies?  

I love crafty stuff, sewing, basically anything you can find in a craft store is fun to me! My husband and I enjoy kayaking, our favorite place to go is in Ridgefield where you can kayak along the Wildlife Refuge. I also enjoy writing, traveling, and baking.

Aside from work, what is something else you excel at?  

Throwing parties. I love planning them, preparing for them, and all that goes into making an event extra special.

What was your favorite vacation and why?  

Oh gosh, every vacation is amazing to me! Michael and I love going to Maui! It truly is our happy place! We enjoy exploring, snorkeling, hiking, and everything this beautiful island has to offer. We have also taken some epic road trips, one of our favorites was down the California coast to visit Joshua when was stationed in Port Hueneme, CA. And, in 2005, I was able to spend two weeks in Tanzania (East Africa) with my parents and an amazing group of people. This was an unforgettable trip!

What food or drink item can you not live without?   

Water. It is seriously my favorite. And coffee!

During COVID lockdown, what did you do to keep your sanity and have fun? 

I got creative! Lots of baking, sewing, crafting. I also got into walking, and began tracking my steps with a Fitbit. Since my husband and I both have jobs that required being on site and in person, a lot of things didn’t change too much for us. My favorite COVID memory is when Jacob and I drove to Montana to see Joshua for a long weekend in June of 2020. We drove straight there with super fast/safe stops for necessities along the way, and then holed up in a hotel room with Josh for the weekend. We ordered take out, played Nintendo games, watched movies. During a time when things felt hard/scary/complicated, this small getaway for a hotel slumber party with my sons was really special. 

Last but not least, give us some words of wisdom that have helped you on your journey.  

GO WHERE YOU ARE CALLED TO GO! When trying to decide if this was a job I could really do, a former coworker said to me “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not where ships are meant to be”. That essentially was my journey into this career path, leaving what was known and familiar and in many ways easier, to do something I felt called to do. Many thought I was nuts to leave a 9-5 job with my own office (and my own bathroom!) to do this job. However, I felt called to do it. And, this job takes a VILLAGE. No joke. First of all, I never would have applied at CRESA if it weren’t for my husband’s encouragement. He said to stop saying “I sure would like to be a 911 Dispatcher” and apply already! He assured me that I could do this, and that he would be here to support me along the journey. And, here I am! When I was going through my training process, my kids spent many weekends driving around Clark County with me. They quizzed me on landmarks, road names, abbreviations, etc. And then there is my broader support system, friends and family who all understand that I don’t have a “normal” schedule. Holidays might need to be on different days than the actual holiday. I don’t have every weekend off. Until this past January, I worked the graveyard shift. I might miss that graduation/birthday/get together. I might not text you back right away. Planning ahead is the only way I can make plans. Overtime is exhausting, and sometimes (often) I need a “recovery day” after my work week. My people, my inner circle, they all understand this. And, they continue to encourage me, support me, pray for me, and be there for me…because this job isn’t easy. However, it is VERY rewarding!

Thank You Sarah and Congratulations on being named CRESA’s 2021 Employee of the Year!

CRESA also awarded three Exemplary Service Awards.

Sally D.

Sally D.

Sally D. was awarded for actions during the near drowning of Deputy Sean Robertson. The help that arrived first was entirely due to Sally brainstorming for non-typical answers to a rapidly evolving situation. Sally seeing that the Paradise point boat launch was nearby figured that if someone WAS there they would be uniquely situated geographically to get to Sean very quickly. I called the boat launch and got Chris and explained the situation and how dire it was to him and he understood immediately and said he would do what he could. As we all know now Chris did move and moved quickly and was first on scene to pull Sean into his boat.  Sally stands out for accepting that typical solutions weren’t going to make it in time so rather than give up she looked for and found a solution.  She performed in an exemplary manner and deserve recognition for their actions that day.

Kelly H.

Kelly H.

Kelly was awarded for actions during the near drowning of Deputy Sean Robertson. I think everyone is aware of the details surrounding this incident but wanted to point out that Kelly H. was on the phone with someone she has worked with for years who was in a grave situation and it was quite possible it may have been his last phone call. Kelly stayed on the phone with him for 25-30 minutes which must have felt like hours and she certainly was feeling helpless to do anything more than what she was already doing. But Kelly stayed on the line and kept giving him encouragement to hold on until help arrived.

Everyone on the team that day helped to solve it but Kelly’s task to stay on the line with a friend in a life or death struggle stands out as a particularly difficult job and she performed admirably. She performed in an exemplary manner and deserve recognition for their actions that day.

Anthony V.

Anthony V.

Anthony demonstrated great creativity, flexibility and dedication in the performance of his duties in 2021.  He was always willing to take on a new challenge and see it through.  He continued his work with the CRESA Personal Protective Equipment warehouse logistics section and worked many hours with Clark County Public Health to help support vaccination clinics.  He has spearheaded the creation of a new agency website and has made sure that his continuity projects, Hazard Mitigation plan and Critical Infrastructure Assessment Planning, have stayed on track-in spite of the challenges created by pandemic meeting restrictions.

Congratulations to all of the CRESA 2021 Award Recipients! 

Kiddo’s and 9-1-1

What Should I Teach My Child about Calling 9-1-1?

Many children know to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, but often do not know other important information, such as their address or how to reach a parent at work. Here is some of the most important information children need to know about calling 9-1-1:

  • Teach your children their names, their parents names, their home address and home phone number
  • Teach your children the name of your employer and phone number
  • Teach your children what an emergency is and when to call 9-1-1
  • Teach your children how to hold the phone properly so that they can speak clearly to the dispatcher
  • Teach your children that it is against the law to call 9-1-1 as a joke or prank
  • Teach your children not to be afraid to call 9-1-1 if there is any doubt whether they should call
  • Calling a parent at work before calling 9-1-1 can waste valuable time. Give them permission to call 9-1-1 if they think there is an emergency

Do you know what number to call in an emergency? Emery the Emergency Penguin wants to help you learn about how to call 911, when to call 911 and where to call 911.

Emery’s 911 Kids Corner

Do you know what number to call in an emergency? Emery the Emergency Penguin wants to help you learn about how to call 911, when to call 911 and where to call 911.

Learn the do’s and don’ts of calling 911

When it’s 3-1-1… Not 9-1-1

Just a few years ago, Clark County had just one number to call to connect with their local law enforcement.  This meant that if you had a non-emergency complaint (like someone had stolen your bicycle overnight) you had no choice but to call 911 to report the crime.  Community members now can also call 311 or 360-693-3111 to reach the  same 911 dispatchers to report non-emergency issues for local law enforcement. 

Why?  Using this line helps us prioritize calls coming into the center and keeps the 911 lines open for emergencies and those that need immediate assistance! When you dial 311 you will hear a recorded message with alternate phone numbers and resources you may need. CRESA is a busy place, serving all incorporated and unincorporated areas of Clark County as the 911 answering point and dispatch center for our local law enforcement, Fire and EMS providers. The dispatchers and call takers may need to place you on hold to answer other incoming calls. Please be patient with us as the same call takers and dispatchers that answer 911 are also answering 311.

CRESA is a busy place, serving as both the 911 answering point for all of incorporated and unincorporated Clark County and is also the dispatch center for local law enforcement and fire / EMS responders. Please be patient, as the same people answering 911 emergency calls and dispatching responders are the same people answering 311.

A few guidelines to follow when deciding if you need 911 versus 311:

  • Always use 911 for any fire or medical call, no matter how minor you think the medical complaint is
  • Call 911 if your police complaints involves a gun, is a crime happening now, or a situation that requires police to prevent or stop an injury or property damage
  • 311 is the alternate number to report non-emergency law enforcement related complaints

If you are unsure, call 911 and we will get you the right help or refer you to the right resource.  

Answers to Questions You May Have:

Question: If I have a problem after hours that is not an emergency, is there another number I can call besides 9-1-1?

Answer: Yes… You can dial 311  or 360-693-3111 in Clark County.  If you have a concern about anything that is “in progress,” call 9-1-1, state the problem, the location, and a description of subjects or vehicles. We can always refer you to other agencies if we determine it is not an “in progress” emergency. Even a 5 minute delay can make the difference whether police can find the bad guy. Don’t delay; call right away!!!

Question: I called 9-1-1 and they asked me if I had an “in progress” emergency. I said “no” and they put me on hold for a long time. Why did I have to wait?

Answer: Dispatchers may need to put you on hold if you do not have an “in progress emergency. When dispatchers take “in progress” calls such as medical, (ie. cardiac arrest, choking and childbirth), armed robberies and fires, they may need to put you on hold so they can take care of priority situations. That doesn’t mean your call is not important, but some calls take priority over non-emergency calls that have taken place in the past or are not in-progress events.

Question: I called 9-1-1 for an ambulance and I got a fire truck and an ambulance. Why did you send me a fire truck too?

Answer: Every time someone calls 9-1-1 for a medical situation, dispatchers utilize medical triage software that guides your call to get you the best response for your medical emergency.  Oftentimes, a fire truck or a rescue vehicle are paired with an ambulance to get you a fast and efficient response.. Fire Crews are trained in Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) treatment protocols.  Fire Crews can provide treatment prior to ambulance arrival.

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