911 Communications: When to Call 911
911 can save your life or the life of a loved one. Fire, law enforcement and ambulance logs are filled with incidents where people have helped save lives and property by dialing 9-1-1.
911 is simplifying our lives, protecting us in emergencies and providing opportunities to help others in need. 9-1-1 is available through most of the U.S. as a means to easily report any emergency without looking up other telephone numbers.
Unfortunately, 911 systems can at times be abused and overloaded. There are many instances where 9-1-1 was dialed as a joke, to ask for information or to report a nuisance. In some areas of the country, these examples account for the majority of 911 calls. Please remember, dialing 9-1-1 is for an emergency and is serious. Calling unnecessarily can endanger someone else's life or property when they really do need help.
When should you call 911?
- You witness or are the victim of a serious crime.
- You smell smoke or see uncontrolled fire.
- You witness or are involved in a serious accident.
- There is an emergency illness, injury or suspected poisoning.
- When a child / senior citizen / handicapped person is lost, confused, frightened, or needs special assistance
- There is any situation that is potentially dangerous and you are not sure who to call.
What should I do if there's a fire in my home?
- Do not use your home telephone to call.
- Stay low and get out of your house immediately.
- Call from your neighbor's house or from a pay phone.
- Remember, you can call 911 from a pay phone and the call is free.
When calling 911, remember to give the following information:
- The phone number you are calling from.
- Your name.
- Your address.
- What your problem or situation is.
- Be calm. Speak clearly and remain on the line to answer all the dispatcher's questions as best you can.
Don't call 911 to:
- Ask for a phone number you can't find in the book
- Inquire if a particular business or park is open
- Ask the cost of overnight fees at area campgrounds
- Complain about a barking dog
- Request a copy of an accident report