9-1-1 Needs To Know Tips

Click on the images below to view videos with Tips on Calling 9-1-1.

Graphic NENA 911 Tip 5 go to NENA tip 5 video

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Videos provided by the National Emergency Number Association.

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911 Needs to Know Where To Go

More 911 topics:

  • When calling 9-1-1, one of the first things you’ll be asked to provide is the location of the emergency you’re reporting.
  • The call taker may not automatically know your location or may ask you to confirm it.
  • Tell the call taker the location of the emergency. Provide landmarks such as cross streets and mileposts.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.

Know your cell well

  • The current 9-1-1 system is designed for voice communications only.
  • Texting 9-1-1 is not an option in most locales; you must dial 9-1-1 and speak with a call taker.
  • Lock your keypad when you’re not using your phone, so 9-1-1 isn’t dialed by mistake. For the same reason, don’t put 9-1-1 on speed dial.
  • Do not give old phones to children as toys. A wireless phone with no active service can still call 9-1-1.
  • If you accidentally call 9-1-1, stay on the line and tell the receiver that you do not have an emergency.

9-1-1 is for emergency use only

  • Call 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
  •  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 the right number to call in an emergency when a prompt response is needed.

Know how to use 9-1-1 with the phone you own

  •  Before you need help in an emergency, be sure to understand how the type of phone you use affects your call to 9-1-1.
  • Cell phones may not automatically tell 9-1-1 where you are. 
  •  Know the capabilities of the device you are using (landline, cellular, VoIP) when calling 9-1-1.

Remain calm, be prepared

  •  Try to stay calm, listen carefully, give information and follow all instructions. 
  •  In an emergency, seconds matter, so being knowledgeable and prepared can make all the difference.
  • Knowing when to call and what to expect when you phone 9-1-1 can help reduce fear and feelings of helplessness in an emergency.

Help 9-1-1 help you

  • The more you know what to expect when you call 9-1-1, the faster 9-1-1 can get you the help you need.
  • If you dial 9-1-1 for a non-emergency matter, you are tying up resources that could be needed in a real emergency.
  • You can save a life! Follow all instructions the 9-1-1 call taker gives you, and don’t hang up until the call taker does.