When to Call 911

Call 911 when you need any response from Police, Fire or medical personnel.

When Calling 911


  • If you hear an extended ring or silence on the line, do not hang up and redial unless the silence lasts longer than eight seconds. Hanging up will only delay access to the dispatcher.
  • Stay calm -- yelling into the phone makes it hard to understand your information.
  • Give your name, location and nature of the emergency.
  • Listen carefully to the dispatcher, answer all questions and stay on the line until the dispatcher ends the call. Help can be sent while you talk.
  • On medical calls, the dispatcher may ask some basic questions about the patient's condition and give you instructions for helping the patient until paramedics arrive.
  • Do exactly as the 911 operator tells you during the course of the call.
  • If the situation changes before help arrives, call 911 again and give the dispatcher an update.

911 Facts & Information


  • 911 calls from pay phones are free. You do not have to deposit money.
  • Hearing-impaired callers can use a TTY device to call 911. Press any key after dialing.
  • If you accidentally dial 911, do not hang up. Stay on the line and tell the dispatcher that you misdialed. If you hang up, we will have to investigate your call.
  • When providing information about an incident, be as descriptive as possible and stay on the line until the dispatcher terminates the call. Help can be sent while you talk.
  • If the situation changes before help arrives, call 911 again and give the dispatcher an update.
  • Cellular 911 calls are routed by the location of the tower that receives the call. Cell towers often service several cities, so your call may need to be rerouted.
  • On some calls for medical assistance, the dispatcher will ask some basic questions about the patient's condition. The dispatcher may provide instructions on what to do to assist your patient until help arrives. 911 works in conjunction with poison control and together they determine what assistance is needed
  • Non-English speaking callers can be connected with a translator within seconds once the language spoken is identified.
  • All calls are prioritized, based upon the level of urgency and resources available. Life-threatening calls are handled first, followed by cases where the situation is stable and there are no immediate threats to life or property.
  • If you call from a landline phone, the dispatcher will see your address so even if you can not speak. For instance, if you are having a stroke, just dial 911 and leave the phone off the hook.
  • Put pets away prior to responders’ arrival, they may need to prop the door open, or the pets may get in the way while responders are providing care.