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Flathead Co. dispatchers give advice on reporting fires

Flathead County 911 Dispatch Center


Flathead County dispatchers say fire season is a frantic time of year for emergency responders.

They said not getting enough or not having the best information about where a fire is located can make responding more difficult. Dispatchers want to advise people that if they see a fire, call 911 and make sure to give the most helpful information you can.

So far this year Flathead County dispatchers received 72 reported cases of fires in July.

In the first week of August they have already received 102 reports. The numbers do not include lightning-caused fires. The numbers also represent one incident of a fire, which means multiple calls could have come in on the same fire.

Officials do not want to discourage anyone from calling 911, but they want callers to make sure what they see is a fire.

When calling 911 the caller should know what jurisdiction they are in, what road they're on, how far away the fire is and as many other details as possible.

"Knowing basics as far as what direction is north is incredibly helpful, if you happen to be in an area that does not have cell service take special note of where you are and where you see a possible fire before you leave that location to get to cell service," said Flathead 911 Director Elizabeth Brooks.

Brooks also said to be prepared to answer questions like whether there is smoke, what the color of the smoke is and whether you see flames. It will not delay a response, because another dispatcher works on getting information out to responders.

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