The easiest and fastest way to get a police, fire, or medical response is to dial 911.

It is faster than emailing, tweets, or texting

Always call 911 for any urgent situations (even if you are unsure the person needs an ambulance or not).  Though there are non-emergency numbers for our various first responder partner agencies, calling 911 directly provides a number of benefits:

  • The address of the building AND the room number is automatically provided from any campus landline phone in offices, suites and rooms.
  • GVSU employs added technology that geo-fences cell phone calls that provide Ottawa County Dispatchers with a building location and address even from a cell phone call.
  • Both the Kent and Ottawa County 911 system uses EMD, or Emergency Medical Dispatching.  It is an electronic system that allows Dispatchers to ask a series of questions regarding the victim’s condition. This leads the 911 operator to a most likely cause of the person’s condition and outputs medical instructions that the 911 operator can give you.  You do not have to know anything about first aid, just call 911 and the operator will tell you what to do and what not to do, such as sitting the person up versus laying them down.
  • Urgent calls to GVPD’s non-emergency number are transferred to 911.  This wastes time and will not provide your location to the 911 operator.  Transferred 911 calls appear to be originating from GVPD in the Service Building on the Allendale campus.

Don't be afraid to call 911, even if you don't have all of the facts.

It is not necessary to dial a 9 first.  You may dial 911 or 9-911, they will both work the same.

  1. Location Verification. It is very important that responders are going to the right location, building, and room.  The 911 operator will discuss who you are and where you are at.  They MUST verify where you are.  Click for a list of campus addresses
  2. If you reach a recording, listen to what it says. If the recording says your call cannot be completed, hang up and try again. If the recording says all call-takers are busy, wait! Dispatchers are often very busy.  A dispatcher will speak to you when available.
  3. Wait for the dispatcher to ask questions.  Answer all questions clearly and calmly. If you are in danger of assault, the dispatcher will still need you to answer.  You may need to answer quietly.  If so, the dispatcher will ask mostly "yes" and "no" questions.
  4. Let the dispatcher guide the conversation. The dispatcher needs to type information into a computer.  This may seem to take a long time. The dispatcher is typing information to emergency responders that are already being sent while you are waiting on the line.
  5. Follow all directions. In some cases, the dispatcher will give you directions. Listen carefully and follow each step exactly.  Ask for clarification if you don't understand.
  6. Keep your eyes open. You may be asked to describe victims, suspects, vehicles, or other events at the scene.

Do not hang up the call.  Wait until you are directed to do so by the dispatcher.

Do not hang up. Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that everything is alright. If you don't, the dispatcher will think that something is wrong and send a police officer to check.

GVSU provides public phones in many locations around campus.  Please refer below to the locations of the public phones in relation to where you teach, take class, socialize, study, etc.  The public phones can dial local calls and 911.  The phones at the entrances to various buildings can dial GVPD Dispatch with the RED button as well as local calls and 911.

We highly encourage everyone to review cell phone coverage areas on campus where you teach, take class, socialize, study, etc.
Various areas at GVSU have been identified by IT as having poor reception from some national cell providers. 
Note: GVSU cannot guarantee signal coverage in all areas due to:

  • Location of the cell provider(s) tower to GVSU
  • Building materials that reduce signal strength

GVSU will continue to work towards improved signal strength with the cell providers.
If your cell phone does not have adequate coverage, look for a public phone in the area.

Wi-Fi calling has recently been released from many cellular providers.  It allows for cellular calls to be transferred onto a local Wi-Fi connection or calls to be initiated via Wi-Fi calling.  This capability can potentially allow for calls to be made in areas where there is low or no cell signal.  Click here for more information on Wi-Fi calling.

Note: GVSU cannot guarantee that the cell signal will be transferred to Wi-Fi or that a Wi-Fi initiated call is successful on your device.

We highly encourage you to test your cell phone for Wi-Fi calling and to keep these things in mind as you test it:

  • If you are on a cellular call, the call switches from cellular over to Wi-Fi when cell coverage drops or from Wi-Fi to cellular service when cell service picks up.
  • Not all cell phone models allow Wi-Fi calling.  Please check with your cell provider.
  • Transfer time from cellular to Wi-Fi and vice-versa may have a lag of up to 20-25 seconds.
  • See instructions from your cell provider to set up Wi-Fi calling on your device. 

Verizon                           AT&T                                T-Mobile                                 Sprint

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are different from traditional land line telephones or cell phone service in that your physical location may not be automatically detected when you place a 911 phone call.

Unlike land lines and cell phones, VoIP allows you to make phone calls using an internet connection from anywhere in the world. If you are mobile and if your VoIP desk phone is relocated without authorization from GVSU's Telecommunications Department, emergency responders receiving 911 calls may not automatically receive correct information on where you are geographically located.

VoIP equipment with e911 limitations includes: wireless phones; soft clients (computer generated telephony) and desk phones when moved without authorization. Desk phone applications cover most GVSU VoIP users. VoIP desk phones can be easily moved to other active VoIP phone ports without assistance from the Telecommunications Department. For your safety we ask that you submit a telephone work order at this website when phone relocations are necessary The telephone work order process triggers updates to all systems including e911.

The following are examples of limitations to 911 emergency services using VoIP technology:

  • Relocating VoIP desk phones without prior authorization from Grand Valley State University Telecommunications Department will transmit incorrect phone numbers and/or location information to emergency responders. Submit a telecommunications work order for desk phone relocations.
  • When you are mobile a 911 call placed using VoIP service may not connect to 911 center, which dispatches emergency personnel to assist a 911 caller.
  • When you are mobile VoIP 911 service may correctly connect to the PSAP, but not automatically transmit your phone number and/or location information.
  • When you are mobile VoIP 911 service may connect to a PSAP serving a county other than the one you are located in.
  • VoIP 911 service may not work during a power outage, or when the internet connection you are using to place the call fails or becomes overloaded.

If you have questions call Information Technology.

Ottawa Central Dispatch
Allendale Fire
Life EMS

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Page last modified February 5, 2019