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What happens when you dial 9-1-1?

When you dial 9-1-1 from a hard-line phone in Redwood City your call will first go to the Redwood City Police Dispatch Center. The Redwood City Police Dispatch Center determines the nature of your emergency. If the police dispatcher concludes you have a call that requires the Fire Department, you will be transferred to the San Mateo County Dispatch Center. A San Mateo County Dispatcher will take your information and the Redwood City Fire Department, and any neighboring, needed fire resources, will be dispatched to you.

If you're calling 9-1-1 from a cell phone in Redwood City your original call will go to the California Highway Patrol Dispatch Center in Vallejo. The dispatcher takes your information and contacts the San Mateo County Dispatch Center (if your call requires Fire Department resources), where the information will be given to a San Mateo County dispatcher. At this point the Redwood City Fire Department will be dispatched to you.

The advantage of using San Mateo County as our dispatch service is their access to all fire apparatus and ambulances in the entire County. Both fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) resources are dispatched at the same time from this center. Large structure fires require multiple companies to respond. The County has the ability to dispatch all necessary vehicles at the time the initial 9-1-1 call is received. Most emergency calls are processed within 30 seconds.


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