This Thanksgiving afternoon, Brad and Josh are working dispatch. They have worked multiple calls already.

As the phone rings…

Brad: “9-1-1, Where is your emergency?”

Caller: “It is not for me, but my mother is not feeling well I would like someone to check on her.”

Brad: “What is your address and name?”

Caller: “My name is Cranny. I live at 1023 Cornucopia Rd. She is at her house though and not here; she couldn’t make it up for dinner and we couldn’t get down there this week due to work. I just talked to her on the phone, and she said she had a headache, but I also noticed she was having   trouble putting her words together. I called a family friend to go over, but they did not answer the phone and not sure if they saw the voicemail yet.

Brad: “What is your mom’s address?

Cranny: “I am not sure she moved down there a few years ago and well I haven’t paid attention. I do know that you take another highway off Highway 63 then turn onto a gravel road, I think there is an old schoolhouse or church just before you get to her house.”

Brad continues to ask questions including the mother’s name and phone numbers for both the caller and the mom. Once that information was obtained Josh was looking through the CAD system to check for any history with that name, no luck. Josh then tried the phone number through the call taking system. This phone number happened to be a landline and is easier to search than a cell phone number.

Brad: “Cranny, my partner is searching trying to find anything with her name or address.”

Josh found a possible address, had Brad asked the caller is that was it. Cranny wasn’t sure, but she thought it was.

Brad: “Cranny, I am going to get off the phone with you and try to call your mom.”

Cranny: “OK, but she may not answer.”

Brad released the call and dialed the number that was for the mother. Josh was dispatching out medical responders.

As the phone rings at the house someone answers…

Brad: “Hello, this is 9-1-1, we received a call advising that someone was ill there.”

The person on the end of the line was the family friend, Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Smith: “Well, I just got here, she does not seem to be feeling well she is just sitting in the chair. She did say she has a headache but isn’t talking much other than that.”

Brad: “Can you tell me her address?”

Mrs. Smith: “I don’t know, I live about six miles away, I am not sure what hers would be.”

Brad: Can you ask her for the address?

Brad can hear Mrs. Smith ask.

Mrs. Smith: “She won’t answer – just nods her head.

Medical responders are asking if there is any update. Josh explains that there is someone there with the patient now and trying to get more information and trying to confirm the address.

Brad: “Is there any mail laying there or can you look on the house see if any numbers are on it. Maybe the mailbox?

Mrs. Smith: “I will check. Oh yes, here are a few letters, but they only have her P.O. box on them. There is no sign or anything on her house, and she does not have a mailbox.”

Brad: “Can you see anything that may have her address information written down anywhere?”

Mrs. Smith: “No.”

Brad advised the possible address that was in the system. Mrs. Smith confirms that it is the correct road name but not sure on the numeric.

Mrs. Smith: “When they are coming down the road there will be an old schoolhouse on the left. Once they pass that about one-half mile there will be a purple gate on the right. From that gate the house is the next one on the right. I have a red car that is here. It is the old Gobbler Farm, if they are familiar with that family.”

Brad: “Can you turn the flashers on the car?”

Mrs. Smith: “Yes.”

Josh was able to relay this information to the responding units. The crews were new and not familiar with the residence or the farm.

Brad: “Mrs. Smith, can you tell how her breathing is?”

Brad goes on to ask protocol questions. Not much can tell with the patient she is breathing, no     obvious injuries.

Josh updates the responders with any information obtained. Brad will remain on the phone until the field responders arrive on scene.

Mrs. Smith: “I think I hear the sirens; I will step outside to show them in. Yes, here they are now. “

Brad: “If they are there with you, I will release the call. thank you for your help.”

As Josh goes to answer another emergency call the field responders advise on the radio that they have arrived.

There are many calls each year that the caller does not know the address of the emergency. Dispatchers use all the tools they have, to help to find a location. Many times, it may be to give directions past landmarks as you read above. 

A few tips for all ages:

•Have your address wrote out in a common area of the house.

•Have your address marked at the end of your driveway, visible from all directions for all-weather conditions, day, and night.

•Have your numbers on your house or very close to it.

For the family/friends that may check on loved ones, keep their information in a secure location that is easily accessed. 

As you sit down with your families this holiday season, please keep the many responders in mind.

On behalf of the Texas County 9-1-1, Happy Thanksgiving!

The Texas County Emergency Services office in Houston is funded by a 3/8-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in 2013. Assistant director Terra Culley can be reached by phone at 417-967-5309 or by email at

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