Making the Call

Knowing when to call and what to expect when you call 9-1-1 can help reduce fear and feelings of helplessness in an emergency. Critical elements to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Know where you are. Could you tell 9-1-1 exactly where to find you?
  • Provide the call taker with landmarks, such as cross streets and mileposts so they can locate you more easily.
  • The call taker may not automatically know your location or may ask you to confirm it.
  • Whenever possible, use a landline to call 9-1-1. Cell phone calls aren't always routed to the closest call center.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Lock your keypad when you're not using your phone so 9-1-1 is not dialed by mistake.
  • Do not give your old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still call 9-1-1.
  • It is appropriate to call 9-1-1 when you need to save a life, stop a crime or report a fire. 9-1-1 is for emergency use only.
  • If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the receiver that you do not have an emergency.
  • If you dial 9-1-1 for a non-emergency matter, you are tying up resources that could be needed in a real emergency.
  • Stay calm and ready to listen. 9-1-1 is there to help you until additional assistance arrives.