Helpful Tips for Calling 911

  1. Use a landline phone to call 911, if possible, because cell phone calls do not always provide 911 with an address or phone number. However, do not delay calling in an effort to find a landline phone.
  2. If calling from a cell phone, study your surroundings. The calltaker might need
    more specific information, including landmarks and cross streets, for responders to locate you and the emergency.
  3. Call 911 right away if you or someone else is facing a situation that may pose an immediate risk to health, life, property, or the environment.
  4. Remember that 911 is a 24-hour service and all calls are free. Sometimes it takes time to route the call to the correct answering point so stay on the line. If you become disconnected, call back.
  5. Be respectful of your 911 calltaker. These first, first responders are there to help you.
  6. If you call 911 by mistake stay on the line. When the call is answered, tell the calltaker that the call was made accidentally and there is no emergency. Otherwise emergency help may be sent unnecessarily to check on the disconnected call.
  7. Post your phone number and address by the telephone or on the refrigerator. It is not uncommon to forget your address or phone number during an emergency situation, especially if you have recently moved. A child making a call to 911 might not remember this information unless it's written down. Emergency responders cannot help you if they cannot find you.
  8. Put your house/apartment/condo number on your front, outside wall or curb to aid responders.
  9. Compile critical information and put the information in a safe place known to other family members or close friends. Include an updated record of the following information for everyone living in your household: 
    • Allergies
    • Blood type
    • Doctors' phone numbers
    • Medications
    • Personal contacts' phone numbers
    • Phone numbers
    • Name
  10. Provide answers in a controlled tone of voice. Try not to lose your composure. The calltaker understands any fears you may be feeling and will do his or her best to help you stay calm.
  11. If you have trouble answering the calltaker's questions or following his or her instructions, hand the phone to someone else at the scene, if possible.
  12. Remain on the line until the calltaker says it is ok for you to end the call.