On average, there are 650,000 911 calls a day in the United States, according to the National Emergency Number Association, which works to improve the 911 system through research, training and education. Because there are no national minimum training guidelines for 911 operators, the responsibility for adequate training falls to states and local jurisdictions, the group said.
Emergency call takers are trained for active listening, April Heinze, an operations director for the association, said on Saturday. “They are trained to get clues from what they are hearing in the background of a call.”
Disguising calls for help is a common safety strategy survivors use, according to Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Code words that signal a need for help are also an important part of developing an exit strategy, Ms. Ray-Jones said on Saturday. “It’s an easier way to get help without jeopardizing others’ safety around them, particularly children.”
“To be able to mask that outreach is really important,” she added.
However, she warned that strategies such as ordering a pizza, which was also depicted in a 2015 Super Bowl commercial about domestic violence, may eventually become too familiar for survivors to use, and could tip off abusers.
“Great strategies come up and then perpetrators get informed about what their strategies are and then we’re, as advocates, pivoting once again to what’s another strategy we can utilize,” she said.
An exact address is the most important information to relay in the event that a caller can’t talk about what’s happening, Ty Wooten, education director for the emergency number group, said.