Greensboro, NC -- If you have an emergency, you expect emergency responders to come to your home right away. However, in some cases, they have to wait for police because of an alert in law enforcement's computer system.
Your house might have a premise alert on it and you don't even know about it.
"My husband is yelling for me, 'they need to hurry, they need to hurry'," said Velvet Watson, who needed help.
Watson thought her husband was having a heart attack, so she called 911.
"And so then all the sudden, the noise stopped. It was like, right down the street and it just stopped. And so at that time, I tried to get my husband together and I was going to take him myself," said Watson.
Watson was backing out of her driveway when the police showed up, and then the ambulance.
"He said that 'we would have been here sooner. We were waiting at the end of your street.' He said 'the police had to come first because this address showed up that someone here was considered to be a violent person,' so they couldn't come in first," said Watson.
Watson's home had what law enforcement calls a "premise alert" on it.
"We're going to send a law enforcement officer with them to protect them. And in many cases, they're the first ones who have to go in before the emergency personnel arrives," said Col. Randy Powers with the Guilford County Sheriff's Office.
A premise alert tells EMS and firefighters of previous problems at an address, so they can take proper precautions.
"It's just very important to know to protect the people going in, giving them a heads up, it also gives us an idea of what to expect, so that we can go in expecting, 'if this happens, we can handle it'," said Powers.
Watson bought the home almost three years before she called 911. It was the previous owner who was tagged as a violent subject. And the label she didn't know about could have caused grief for more than just her family.
"I also have an in-home daycare that I run here and if something serious happened, they have to wait, you know," said Watson. "I'm just afraid what might happen while they're waiting down at the end of the street."
Powers said it's hard to tell when people make changes and move.
The premise alert on Watson's home is now gone, but she still might not wait for EMS in the future.
"If I ever have to call 911 again, I think I would make the decision of whether I need to drive or call 911, because I don't know if this is going to happen again," she said.
Police probably won't tell you if you have a premise alert on your home. But Powers said, if you move into a new house and your new next door neighbor says, "police used to be over there all the time," you need to call police, tell them you just moved in, and give them your name.
Then police will come to your house to verify that.
Powers said officers occasionally go check out houses to see if anything has changed, but they don't really have any way to regularly update their system, so they don't know who has moved in or out unless you tell them.
News 2 checked with Forsyth, Alamance and Randolph counties, which all have premise notes or premise alerts in their systems too.
However, premise notes or premise alerts are not always a bad thing. They can also be used to note if someone has special needs, a special way to get into the home, or other pertinent information.
WFMY News 2