Written by James Woda

The following is a list of frequently asked questions or topics that we feel are important for you to know. If you have a question you would like to see listed you can send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and we will try to answer them.




Why am I sometimes connected to the wrong 9-1-1 center when I dial 9-1-1 on my cellphone?

At a basic level, wireless networks are a system of "walkie-talkies" (cell phones) and base radios (cell phone towers). When you dial a number the phone connects to the tower in which it is receiving the clearest connection. That isn't to say that it is the closest tower to you at the time. When a 9-1-1 call is made from a cell phone you are connected to the 9-1-1 center that covers the tower site in which you are connected at that time.

When you dial 9-1-1 in the tri-state, your call can potentially be routed to eight different 9-1-1 centers depending on your location (Lawrence, OH, Jackson, OH, Gallia, OH, Scioto, OH, Cabell, WV, Wayne, WV, Boyd, KY or Greenup, KY). Each of these centers are capable of transferring you to the appropriate agency but will have to get some basic information in the event that the transfer fails.

  • TIP #1: When possible, call 9-1-1 from a land line.
  • TIP #2: Listen closely when the dispatcher answers the phone to ensure you are connected to the right 9-1-1 center. This will eliminate the frustration of having to re-tell the situation several times.

More information: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/wireless-911-services

Can you call 9-1-1 from a disconnected cell phone?

Yes. It is possible to call 9-1-1 from a disconnected cell phone however this should only be used as a final option. Dispatchers will not receive important information such as your call back number and GPS location.

NOTE: It is common for parents to give old cell phones to children to use as toys. We ask that you please remove the battery from the device to prevent children from calling 9-1-1. This is an EXTREMELY common problem and leaves the dispatcher with no way to stop the unnecessary calls.

Why did it take so long for help to arrive? 

Emergency responders are notified once a call is received at 9-1-1 and the information is verified. Fire and EMS units are dispatched via radio alert tones (some fire department members also receive text message alerts). Law Enforcement calls are directed to either the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department or the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

With the exception of the Ironton Fire Department, all of the fire services in Lawrence County are volunteer. This means that their members must respond to the emergency (or their station) from wherever they happen to be at the time of alert. The response may be further delayed during the daytime hours when most members are at work.

The Lawrence County EMS has six paramedic staffed ambulances in the county at all times. It is important to remember that your local station may be on another run assisting another patient leaving an ambulance from father away to respond to your emergency. The LCEMS has "move up" procedures and mutual aid agreements in place to reduce response times. 

What information do dispatchers receive automatically when I dial 9-1-1?

When you call from a land line, dispatchers receive the name of the person the phone is registered to, the phone number and the address provided to the telephone company.

Calls from an active wireless phone will display the phone number and the phones current coordinates or the coordinates of the tower site connected to the phone.

In either case it is extremely important for the dispatcher to verify the information displayed on the screen. 

Is it ok to connect an auto dialer to dial 9-1-1 as a security system?

No. In fact this is a violation of the Ohio Law and carries up to a $10,000 fine. All alarm systems (fire, police or medical) must be handled by an alarm company call center.


2011 FAQs. Lawrence County 9-1-1 | 740.532.0911
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