Tips For Calling 9-1-1

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Important Tips

Don’t hang up the telephone if you dial 911 by mistake. Please stay on the telephone and wait for someone to answer and explain that you dialed by mistake and do not have an emergency.

Answer all questions the telecommunicator asks you. 911 telecommunicators have received training to ask questions to determine the exact help you need. Answer each question to the best of your ability, and try to stay calm. If you cannot answer a question (for example, if a suspect is nearby and can hear you) stay on the phone and try to answer “yes” or “no.” While a telecommunicator asks these questions, he or she is entering the information into our systems. Answering questions does not delay response. Getting more information from you allows us to give more information to responders. 

Pay attention to details. If you can do so safely, pay attention to details such as vehicle or suspect descriptions. Notice vehicle color, make and model and any other descriptions that might be helpful. 

911 can’t always locate where you are. Most cell phones now are equipped with GPS or other technology to help 9-1-1 attempt to locate you in case of an emergency while on the phone with you. Sometimes this information  can be misconstrued due to nearby addresses, lack of cellular signal, lack of cell towers in the area, etc. and telecommunicators have to ask you questions to figure out where you are. Answer these questions fully so help will find you quicker. 

911 is available for the hearing impaired and people with speech disabilities via special devices called TTYs and TDDs. 

If you have VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone service, remember you must contact your service provider to update your address if you move. This information will not change automatically; you must make these changes.