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'We'll ask if you've traveled outside of North Carolina in the last 14 days' | 911 dispatchers asking more screening questions

The additional screening questions serve to protect you, and first responders in an emergency situation. Do NOT call 911 with coronavirus-related questions.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — 911 dispatchers are on the front lines during this coronavirus pandemic as well.

"We do not have the capability of working from home," Guilford Metro 911 Senior Supervisor Paige Cummings said.

Cummings said every couple hours since the stay-at-home order went into effect, someone will call 911 to report a potential violator.

"There seems to be a disconnect or people don't quite understand what we do here at Guilford metro 911," she stated.

From house parties to nonessential businesses continuing to operate, she's heard it all.

"People reporting groups of people gathering in neighborhood parks, stores being opened that shouldn't be that type of thing."

These are all concerns, not emergencies. Do not call 911 to report violations.

"Our main job here at Guilford metro 911 is to dispatch you an ambulance, fire truck, or police officer," Cummings explained.

Instead, go to Guilford County's website and fill out a violation form. You can also call 211 with coronavirus-related questions.

For real emergencies Triad 911 centers are still here for you. But because of the pandemic, they will ask you a few more questions.

"When this all began we were asking if anyone had traveled out of the country, now it's 'have you traveled outside of North Carolina in the past 14 days?'"

The questions are for your safety, as much as the safety of first responders.

"Then another question is 'have you come into contact with anyone suspected of having the coronavirus symptoms in the last 14 days?'"

Cummings assures us the additional questions will not slow down response time in an emergency. She said first responders will still be dispatched while questions are being asked.

"I know when you're in an emergency situation it's hard to understand why we're asking all these questions but these questions are not slowing anybody down."

For medical 911 calls, dispatchers will ask if you have coronavirus symptoms like shortness of breath.

First responders will be responding if you need help, no matter what. More precautions are just being taken.

"If you call and say that your license plate was stolen from your vehicle sometime overnight we don’t even need to send a police officer out to do that report in person," Cummings said. "That’s the type of report that can be taken over the telephone and that’s why the Greensboro Police Department has their telephone response unit to take care of those types of calls."

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