Reporting a Fire

Reporting a Fire Emergency

As a citizen, you are the eyes and the ears of your fire department. You can provide the fire department with much needed information. Should you need to call 911 because of a fire / rescue emergency, a trained professional will answer the phone and ask a series of questions. Please follow the lead of the call taker and answer the questions that are being asked. Our call takers will carefully prioritize which questions need to be asked given the situation you are reporting. Below is a list of questions that you can expect to be asked. Please remember to speak clearly.


Where is the incident occurring? Street address? Is it an apartment or a house?  At a business? On the street? Near what cross street or address? What business on what street and what address?

The location of the incident is one of the most important pieces of information that you can provide, and one of the first questions you will be asked. If the dispatcher doesn't know where you are, help won't be able to get to you. When providing the location, please try to be as specific as possible. Keep in mind that certain businesses in town have more than one address. For example, there are several Dunkin Donuts in the City of Westfield. If you are calling from a multi-family residence, please provide the floor and/or apartment number so we can find the problem. If you are on the street, please provide specific address information along with the nearest intersecting street.

In addition to knowing where the actual incident is occurring, it is equally as important to know the location of the people affected. Are there people trapped in a vehicle or building? Has a particular location been evacuated? Was everyone able to evacuate? If someone could not evacuate, where are they located NOW? If there are multiple apartments, floors, or rooms, which specific location is affected?


What is happening? What kind of incident is taking place? If it is a fire, what type of fire is it? What is burning? Is it a building, car, brush or other type of fire. Is it a motor vehicle crash, hazardous materials situation, medical problem or another type of incident? What else is involved?

The nature of the problem helps our dispatchers to send the most appropriate resources. We need to know the extent of the problem and any factors that are involved. The more information you can provide the better. This information will assist us in sending the most appropriate resources and prepare the responders for what they'll be dealing with on scene.

How Many People Are Affected?

How many people are involved or affected by the situation? If the incident is a vehicle crash, how many injuries, how many vehicles? If there is a fire, was the building occupied and if so, has the building been evacuated? How many people were in the building? Did they all get out? Are people still trapped?

The number of people affected by a particular situation provides valuable information for the fire department and assists in prompt delivery of services.