Emergency Services

Calling 911

Non-emergency calls to the 911 system can create delays in handling other very serious emergencies that require immediate attention.

The following are guidelines for the proper use of the 911 system in a MEDICAL emergency. Call 911 in any of the Medical Emergency Situations listed below. Do NOT call 911 in Non-Emergency Medical Situations. For Medical Non-Emergency Situations in Story County, call Story County Medical Center at 515-382-2111. For other Non-Emergency Situations, call the Story County Sheriff's Office at 515-382-6566.

Remember, these are general guidelines. If there is ANY doubt , do NOT hesitate to call 911.

Medical Emergency Situations
Medical Non-Emergency Situations
  • Breathing difficulty/shortness of breath/ breathing has stopped
  • Choking (can't talk or breathe)
  • Constant chest pain - in adults (lasting longer than two minutes)
  • Uncontrollable bleeding / large blood loss
  • Drowning
  • Electrocution
  • Drug overdose/poisoning
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Stabbings
  • Vomiting blood
  • Sudden fainting /unconsciousness
  • Convulsions / seizures (uncontrolled jerking, movements the patient may fall to the floor)
  • Severe allergic reaction (difficulty breathing / unresponsive)
  • Major burns (white or charred skin: blisters and redness over large area)
  • Someone who will not wake up, even when you shake them
  • Traffic accidents with injuries
  • Head Injury
  • Significant falls
  • Suicide Attempts
  • Physical entrapment (i.e. car accident with victim trapped in the vehicle)
  • Minor illness or injury not requiring immediate help
  • Flu/common cold
  • Chronic (ongoing) aches and pain
  • Minor cuts
  • Broken fingers or toes
  • Emotional upsets that are not life threatening
  • Routine transportation to medical offices, clinics and hospitals

How Does the 911 System Work?

The 911 emergency telephone system is in place in many US cities to assist citizens with POLICE, MEDICAL or FIRE emergencies. The standard home or office phone calls made in Story County will almost always come into the Story County 9-1-1 Center located in Nevada. If the call in made within the city limits of Ames, the call will be answered by the Ames 9-1-1 Center.

When the call is made, the phone instantly sends a signal to a database that provides your name, address, and phone number on a screen for the dispatchers. They confirm with the caller the telephone number and address information and ask the nature of the emergency. While one dispatcher is talking with the caller and getting the details necessary to assist with the emergency, the other dispatcher is dispatching the appropriate law enforcement agency, firefighting or emergency medical services needed, as also indicated on the 911 screen.

When a call is made on a cellular phone, a different situation takes place. Depending on the calling location and proximity to a cellular tower, the call may be routed to any one of several 9-1-1 Centers.

It’s even possible that your call might be routed to a 9-1-1 center outside the State of Iowa! A 9-1-1 Center can only dispatch agencies within their jurisdiction. Therefore, when a call is mis-routed, the operator may not have ability to dispatch emergency services without transferring the call.

The 9-1-1 Center receiving the cellular call will only see information about the caller's cellular service provider, the location of the tower the call is coming from, and the cellular phone number. This does not give the location. In an emergency situation requiring a call from a cellular phone, it best to KNOW a location to give to the dispatcher. Be ready to provide a good description of your location by either giving the address, nearest cross street, description of surroundings, etc. You'll also need to provide verification of the cellular number for call back in case of a disconnect. The better this information is, the more quickly the dispatcher can determine the proper law enforcement, firefighting, and emergency medical services you need.

Critical Information the Dispatcher Needs to Know

When calling 911 be as prepared as possible to answer the following questions:

  • WHAT'S THE EMERGENCY? What's wrong?
  • WHERE IS THE EMERGENCY? Give the address, include building number, apartment number, nearest cross street. The name of the building is also helpful.
  • WHO NEEDS HELP? Age/ number of people.
  • ARE THEY CONSCIOUS? Yes or no.
  • ARE THEY BREATHING? Yes or no.

For matters relating to Story Medical's Emergency Services Department, please call the Director of Acute & Emergency Services at 515-382-7726.