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Calling for Help

Always Dial 911 to report an emergency

When using a traditional telephone, the communicatiion with the Dispatch Center knows where the call is originating from. This is known as "Enhanced 9-1-1". The 9-1-1 system performs differently when dialing from a cell phone, a telephone within a large business, or using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP):

  • On a cell phone within Winona County, your 9-1-1 call may go to the Winona County Sheriff's Office, Buffalo County, Trempeleau County, La Crosse County or Rochester State Patrol.  After taking the intial information, the call may be transferred to the appropriate emergency response agency. While it is true that cell phones can give dispacther sgood location information, there are many variiables that can also limit a dispacther from getting good location information.  Regardless, it is always important to know the exact location where the emergency is.  the best informaiton a dispatcher can use is the information coming form an informed caller.
  • Large companies have an internal phone system. When a call is made to the 9-1-1 center, one phone number and location is usually displayed. Where a company may have multiple locations, the location of the emergency call that is displayed could be a different building. Always state the correct address of the emergency location.
  • VOIP is a new technology where phone calls are placed using the internet. In some cases, it is not possible to even dial 9-1-1. Where 9-1-1 service is available, the location information could be wrong. Check with your VOIP provider about 9-1-1 service. Always state the correct address of the emergency location.

What you need to tell the dispatcher when you call 9-1-1:

  • Your location.  This is the most important information.
  • Your name and call back phone number.
  • Indicate the type of injuries and the number of people that might be affected. Is someone trapped in a vehicle or machine?
  • What type of emergency you are reporting.
  • If you are in a large building with multiple entrances, indicate which entrance should be used. Have someone go to the entrance to direct the emergency personnel.
  • STAY ON THE LINE. If you must leave the phone, do not hang up the phone.

What to do before emergency personnel arrive:

  • Don't panic.
  • Have someone stay with any injured people.
  • Start any first aid if it is needed.
  • If someone is injured, try to get information on the individual's medical history, medications, allergies, and emergency contacts. Give this information to the emergency personnel.
  • When you report a medical call in Winona County, the dispacther will gather some initial information to you and then transfer your call to a medical dispatcher.  The medical dispacthers at the Gunderson Lutheran dispacth center are trained to gather valuable information and give potentially life saving information over the phone.

Sometimes a call to 9-1-1 is placed accidently. If that should occur, do not hang up. Let the emergency dispatcher know it was an accidentental call. If you hang up, the dispatch center will attempt to call you back. If they cannot contact you, emergency personnel may be dispatched to ensure your saftey. It is better to take 30 seconds to let the dispatch center know it was an accident than have emergency personnel dispatched needlessly.

Calls using 9-1-1 must be limited to EMERGENCY situations, when an immediate need exists. Non-emergency phone numbers are available in the local telephone directory. They should be used for routine business, inquiries, or reporting other events. Some non-emergency phone numbers are:

Agency  Phone numberAgency  Phone number
Winona County Sheriff507-457-6368Winona Fire Department507-457-8266
Winona Police Department507-457-6302Winona Area Ambulance Service507-452-5351
Goodview Police Department507-452-1500Lewiston Ambulance Service507-523-2982
Lewiston Police Department507-523-2534 St. Charles Ambulance Service507-932-4500
St. Charles Police Department507-932-4500Altura Ambulance Service507-796-5461
Winona County Fire Departments