9-1-1 Emergency Video Gets Unique Audience


Emergency Video to help first responders reach residents who do not speak English

West Street Productions has just finished a unique video project for the Prince George’s County Emergency Communications Center, designed to reach out to non-English speaking residents in Prince George’s County Maryland.

The video project explains what happens on the other end of the line when someone calls 9-1-1 for help.  The initial video was produced in English, and it was such a success, officials at the communications center wanted to produce a second video in Spanish for a growing Latino population in Prince George’s.

“When someone calls 9-1-1 they are in crisis, people often don’t understand what’s happening on the other end of the line when they are reaching out for help,” said Dan Cohen, owner of West Street. “There are very specific protocols that are followed to be certain the right help, and enough help is getting to the scene.”

The video is a road map of the brand new 9-1-1 center, which is broken down into three sections, call takers, police dispatch, and fire/EMS dispatch.  The center is also staffed with bilingual call takers.  When a call taker first answers the line, they ask specific questions to be certain they completely understand the emergency.  They then start transmitting the basic information via computer to the appropriate dispatcher to start help on the way.  Once that is in motion, the call taker then asks more specific questions to determine if enough resources are being sent.

“When someone is in crisis time can stand still,” Cohen said.  “That’s where the confusion often happens, callers often don’t understand why they are being asked so many questions, or they don’t understand that help is already coming.  The video graphically explains how the calls are handled.”

“It takes a very special person to be a 9-1-1 call taker or dispatcher, you never know who is on the other end of the line.  It can be anything from a cat up a tree, to someone’s just been shot, or robbed,” Cohen said.

West Street has produced a number of award winning video projects in public safety, including recruitment videos for police departments, information videos for public outreach, and instructional and training videos for first responders.

For more information contact West Street Productions

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