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City of Novi
City of Novi

Communications Unit

911 Procedures
Severe Weather Information

The Novi Regional 911 Center serves as the primary 911 answering point (PSAP) for the City of Novi, the City of South Lyon and Lyon Township. The service area is approximately 70 square miles serving an estimated resident population of 76,388. Public Safety agencies served by the 911 center include the Novi Police and Fire Departments, the South Lyon Police and Fire Departments and the Lyon Township Fire Department.

The Novi Regional 911 Center is a modern and well-equipped facility that is staffed by highly trained 911 personnel. Current staffing levels are 12 dispatchers, four shift leaders, and a manager.

It is the mission of the Novi Regional 911 Center to provide a fast and effective communications link between the citizens requesting public safety services and the public safety agencies charged with providing emergency and non-emergency services to those citizens.

911 Procedures

Dispatch DeskLet's look at how the 911 system works.

When you call 911 from any of the areas that are covered by the Communications Center your call gets routed through the phone system to a switching station located in Rochester Michigan. From that switching station the call goes to a central station in Northville Michigan, where it is then forwarded to our communications center. If you have called 911 and it seems as though it is taking a while to go through, this is due to the routing  system which causes a few second delay. When this occurs, stay on the line and the call will go through.

Any 911 call that gets placed from a residence or business in Novi goes directly to the Novi Communications Center. 911 calls placed from cell phones are currently routed to the nearest Michigan State Police Post or Sheriff's Department.

Your 911 call will print out on a computer screen showing the address, phone number and homeowners or business name the call is being placed from. The operator will verify this information with you to ensure that it is correct, and depending on the assistance needed, will then dispatch the police, fire and/or EMS. If the 911 call is a medical emergency, the call will then be transferred to a private ambulance service for further instruction. During emergencies it can be very difficult to remain calm due to stress, however, it is very difficult to understand callers when they become hysterical.

Woman at dispatch deskIf a 911 call is placed in error, please stay on the line until the call is answered then tell us that you have misdialed. When a call is received and the caller has hung up, the operator will call back to determine if there is a problem, or send what we feel is the appropriate response. In the case of children that call 911, we will call back and ask to speak with an adult.

Anytime that you change your phone number or move, please call 911 to ensure that the correct information is in the system. 911 programming is done by your phone service carrier according to your billing information. The Novi Police Department will submit the corrected information for you.

Severe Weather Information

The best defenses against a tornado are knowledge and preparedness. Since 1987 the City of Novi has had two tornado touchdowns. One tornado touched down in June 1987 in Chateau Estates Mobile Home Park, taking the life of one resident, injuring others and doing extensive damage. The second tornado took place in September 1990 and touched down in the area of Ten Mile and Taft Road. Several homes in the area were damaged along with the Civic Center and Police Station.

Tornado watches and warnings are issued by the National Weather Service. A tornado watch is issued when atmospheric conditions are favorable for the formation of tornados.  Warnings are issued when a tornado has been sighted either visually or on radar.  Novi currently has eight tornado sirens in place, with three more on order. The sirens are tested on the first Saturday of each month at 1:00pm starting in March and ending in November.  Each test consists of a three minute warning.

Before you hear the sirens you and your family should come up with a disaster plan. Some things that should be taken into consideration are:

  • Know where to go. Mobile home park residents, check with your park manager to find out where/if they have a designated shelter. If they don't have a shelter, now is the time to determine where your safest location is. It is preferred to find shelter somewhere other than in your mobile home.  In a frame home, your shelter should be in the lowest level of your home, a basement is preferred. If you do not have a basement, go to an interior room away from windows such as a closet or bathroom.
  • Do not open windows. Protect your face and head from flying debris by covering them with a blanket or your hands.
  • Have supplies on hand such as a battery powered radio, extra batteries, bottled water, blankets and flashlights. In case of a tornado touchdown gas lines can be damaged so it is safer to use flashlights instead of candles.

If you are caught outside during a tornado warning, try to get inside of a building. If you cannot find a building to seek shelter in, lie flat in a ditch or low lying area and cover your head and neck with your hands or a piece of clothing. Be careful to keep in mind that water runoff can flood ditches quickly.

Don't try to out run a tornado in a vehicle, instead try to get to the nearest building as soon as possible, or get out of the vehicle and into a ditch as far away from the vehicle as possible.

Besides knowing what to do in various situations, you should know the difference between a watch and a warning.  A tornado watch simply means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop.  

Tornadoes are most likely to happen in the late afternoon on hot spring days.  However, tornadoes have occurred in every month at all times of the day or night.  On average, 770 tornadoes are reported annually in the United States.  

When a tornado watch is in effect:

  • Move cars inside a garage or carport, if possible, to avoid damage from hail that often accompanies severe storms.

  • Move lawn furniture and yard equipment inside, if time permits.  Otherwise they could become damaged or act as dangerous projectiles, causing serious injury or damage.

  • If you're at home, keep your radio or TV tuned to weather reports and account for family members.

  • Above all, be alert for changing weather - that's what a watch is all about.  Tornadoes often - but not always - occur in conjunction with a severe thunderstorm producing hail.  If you have any indication that a tornado may be approaching, take cover immediately.  Do not wait for a warning to be issued.

A tornado warning means a tornado has actually been sighted.  Realize that tornadoes can be deadly and devastating storms, with winds up to 260 miles per hour.  If a tornado warning is issued for your area:  Seek shelter immediately.

Don't wait until an emergency siren sounds to start grabbing supplies and thinking about what you should do.  Plan ahead when it comes to tornadoes.  Take responsibility for your own safety.  Plan to survive!

Click here to go to National Weather Service Radar.