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Calling 9-1-1

Things You Need To Know.

9-1-1 was first introduced on 16 February 1968.

9-1-1 was designated the National Emergency Number when a Bill was signed in 1999.

9-1-1 still does not completely cover some rural areas across the country.

9-1-1 is a three digit telephone number.

It should be called "nine one one" not "nine eleven".

This is important, for in an emergency people have often looked for the "eleven" key on the phone.

9-1-1 call be called any time of day or night, everyday of the year.

This can save a couple of minutes trying to look for the appropriate phone number for Police, Fire or Medical aid.

In a life threatening Emergency, those few minutes can make the difference between life and death.

Because this is such an important phone number, there are some rules to follow.

(Note: This is general information. Since not all areas work the same way, check with your local authorities 

to verify the way your 9-1-1 system works.)

When to Call 9-1-1

9-1-1 is to be used in Emergencies only!

An Emergency is defined as when the immediate response of Law Enforcement, the Fire Department, 

or Emergency Medical Service is needed.

♦ When a life is in immediate danger.

♦ When you need an ambulance because someone has a sudden illness

(such as Unconsciousness, Chest Pains or Seizure) or has been injured.

♦ When you see smoke or fire.

♦ When you see a crime in progress.

♦ When a stranger is attempting to gain access into your home.

The Proper Use of Calling 9-1-1

♦ When a life is in immediate danger.

♦ When you need an ambulance because someone has a sudden illness

(such as Unconsciousness, Chest Pains, Difficulty Breathing

or Seizure) or has been injured.

♦ When you see smoke or fire.

♦ When you see a crime in progress.

♦ When a stranger is attempting to gain access into your home.

When Not to Call 9-1-1

♦ To request general information regarding police reports, tickets,

court appearances, correctional facilities, weather reports,

or road conditions.

♦ To report utility problems, such as power outages or

broken water pipes.

♦ To ask for directions and/or road names.

♦ To request an ambulance for non medical routine transport.

♦ To request information on road closures for parades or parade times,

shooting off illegal Fireworks, Halloween tricks or to report

businesses closed during holidays.

♦ To request Taxi service.

♦ To report you locked your keys in the car (unless someone is trapped

inside the vehicle). 

REMEMBER: 9-1-1 is to be used ONLY in Emergencies situations.

For non emergencies, check your local phone book and write down

the business numbers of your local Police or Sheriff's Department,

The Highway Patrol and the Fire Department.

Program these numbers into your Cell Phones for easy access.

If you do not have a phone book, call 4-1-1 for information, or call

the Operator (the zero - 0 - on your phone) for assistance.

REMEMBER: 9-1-1 is to be used ONLY in Emergencies situations.

How to Call 9-1-1

♦ From home or any residence, pick up the phone and

dial the numbers 9-1-1.

♦ From a business you may need to dial a number to get an outside line,

then dial 9-1-1. All business phones should be labeled as follows:

"In Case of Emergency, Dial (the outside line number) x - 9-1-1.

♦ From a pay phone, no money is required!

Simply pick up the receiver and dial 9-1-1.

♦ From a cell phone, dial 9-1-1 and hit send.

Enhanced 9-1-1

♦ The Enhanced 9-1-1 system is in most parts of the country,

however there are still a few rural areas which are not covered.

The Enhanced System puts the telephone number and address up on the screen 

when the dispatcher answers the call.

♦ You still need to take a deep breath and give your name, and the phone number and address 

from which you are calling.

This helps slow down your speech so you may speak clearly and distinctly, 

allowing the dispatcher to hear you and understand the information you are trying to give 

the first time you say it.

Giving the address verifies what is showing on the screen.

This is very important, since not all systems show apartment numbers or office numbers or floors.

How Does 9-1-1 work?

♦ When you call 9-1-1 from a "land line" (a hard wired phone line) a dispatcher answers. 

Where they are and what name they are called varies. 

In some larger cities, the "call center" answers just for that city. 

In some areas, several cities are covered by one "call center".

To find out in your area, you can go to the Police Station and ask.

Let them know you are gathering information for you Disaster Plan. 

Some "call centers" give tours.

Take the children with you so they can learn by seeing what happens. This is a great learning tool.

♦ When calling 9-1-1 through your computer or cable television,

the call may go to the company's answering system. 

This may not even be in your state. 

It is very important to know how your 9-1-1 call is routed, since time is off the essence.

♦ If you have a phone line through your computer or cable television and a land line, 

make sure you call 9-1-1 from the land line.

Making a phone call on a computer line or cable line or a portable cordless phone all require power.

In a Power Failure, they will not work!

If you do not have a land line, consider getting one for emergency calls. 

Make sure you have a corded phone plugged in to the phone jack!

Calling 9-1-1 from a Cell Phone

Cell phone 9-1-1 calls are answered by the Highway Patrol or State Police.

There is no guarantee that the office that picks up the call will be local.

You must give the dispatcher your location. If you are not sure, be prepared

to give them as much information as possible, such as landmarks.

They will also take time finding the proper number to call.

Program your local Departments' non emergency telephone numbers into your cell phone. 

In an Emergency situation you can then call direct. 

If you commute or travel on a regular basis through or to certain areas, 

program all the cities non emergency numbers into your phone.

What do I tell 9-1-1?

Since 9-1-1 is only a telephone number, the quick and efficient response

depends on the information you provide to the dispatcher.

Stay Calm! Take a deep breath. Speaking clearly and slowly will help

the dispatcher understand you the first time. Having to repeat information wastes time.

In a life threatening Emergency, time is of the essence.

♦ The Dispatcher will ask you a series of questions. Answer the questions asked. 

They need to get certain information in order to send the proper help fast.

Be brief and state the facts, you will have time to fill in all the details later.

Be prepared to give the following information.

♦ Say what type of Emergency you have and what assistance you need.

For example, if you are calling in a fire, you would say I want to report

a structure fire (say the type of structure, house, apartment fire, business).

It is a single family home, or an apartment complex with approximately

how many units, or a business. Tell the dispatcher

if you know of people trapped inside or if there are injures.

♦ Another example: If you are calling in a traffic collision, state the number

of vehicles and how many people may be affected. 

I want to report a two car accident, possibly two injuries. 

Or, I want to report a truck versus motorcycle accident with one injury.

♦ If there is anything else life threatening, report it. For example,

I want to report a traffic accident and wires are down, or there is a fuel leak.

By giving just the facts quickly, the dispatcher can get the proper responders rolling, 

then you can fill in more information.

♦ If you are reporting a medical emergency, state the location of the emergency, 

and the phone number from which you are calling.

Report what is wrong with the patient. Remember, only the facts!

If you see a man clutching his chest saying it hurts, and he is having difficulty breathing, 

tell the dispatcher that. Do not say he is having

a heart attack. You are not a doctor, and you cannot diagnose!

Only doctors are allowed to diagnose.

State just the signs and symptoms!

Signs are what you see or feel...change in skin color, perspiration,

rapid or very slow pulse, slurred speech, change in attitude or confused speech, etc.

Symptoms are what the patient/victim tells you ... my head hurts,

I feel dizzy, it hurts when I move my arm, etc.

♦ State if the patient/victim is breathing, unconscious or non responsive.

♦ State if the patient/victim is bleeding, and from where.

♦ State if the patient/victim is talking, awake, alert?

♦ If you know, or can find out, state if the patient/victim has

any known medical issues.

♦ Provide the patient's approximate age.

♦ By giving the dispatcher proper information, the proper medical personnel can be sent to the scene.

♦ DO NOT HANG UP until the dispatcher tells you to do so.


9-1-1 is not a toy!

It is a valuable tool for those who are in need of immediate assistance

for Disaster or Emergency needs, when time is crucial.

Abuse of the 9-1-1 system is considered a crime and can be punished by law.

Helpful Information

♦ Make sure you post your address, nearest cross streets, 

and your emergency contact numbers by your telephone. 

This can be used by anyone, such as

the babysitter or guests, to give the dispatcher the information needed

for a quick response.

♦ Make sure your address is visible from the street and/or clearly post it on the street by your driveway. 

Once you call for help, you want to make sure help can find you quickly, especially when it is dark.

♦ As part of your Disaster Planning, explain to everyone the rules about calling 9-1-1. 

Make sure the children are included in the discussion.

Explain what is and what is not an emergency, and that calling 9-1-1 is not a game. 

Also reassure them that if they are in doubt, and there is no adult present to ask, 

they may call 9-1-1 for help.

A Few More Tips

If you find yourself in a situation where you call 9-1-1 from a land line

but cannot talk, consider the following scenarios.

♦ Someone breaks into your home. You call 9-1-1 from your land line phone.

(If you have the enhanced system, your address pops up on the screen.)

You do not want to talk loudly and have the intruder hear you. Whisper.

Say key words, like "burglar". If you cannot talk at all, leave the phone off

the hook. Stay Calm! Hide. Stay as safe as you can. Law enforcement

will come to the scene.

♦ You have a medical emergency, such as choking or a diabetic episode,

and you cannot speak. Call 9-1-1 from your land line phone.

If you can get out any words, say "medical emergency".

If you pass out, help is on the way.

♦ Do not pound the phone on something to let someone know you are there.

The sound and vibration can cause damage to the dispatcher's ear drum!

If a 9-1-1 call comes in from a land line phone, and no one is on the other end, 

law enforcement will be sent to check out the situation.

♦ For more information, or for a great field trip, consider going to your local Police or Fire Station 

and get more information and training.

♦ Take a CPR and First Aid class!

Learn what to do while you wait for help to arrive.

♦ Be sure you have your Disaster Supplies, Emergency Kits and First Aid Kits Handy! 

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