What is 9-1-1? 

9-1-1 is the number most people in the US and some international countries call to get help in a police, fire or medical emergency. In some places, you may be able to be connected with Poison Control by calling 9-1-1, but you should check with local officials in your area to make sure. A 9-1-1 call goes over dedicated networks to the appropriate 9-1-1 answering point (PSAP) for the caller's location, and trained personnel then send the emergency help needed. 

What is Enhanced 9-1-1? 

Enhanced 9-1-1, or E9-1-1, is a system that routes an emergency call to the appropriate 9-1-1 answering point (PSAP) for the caller's location, and automatically displays the caller's phone number and address. The 9-1-1 call taker will typically ask the caller to verify the information, which appears on his or her computer screen. In most areas, phone number and location information is available for 9-1-1 calls made from a cellular/wireless phone. 

When should you use 9-1-1? 

9-1-1 is only to be used in emergencies. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police/sheriff, the fire department or an ambulance. If you are ever in doubt about whether a situation is an emergency, call 9-1-1. It's better to be safe and let the 9-1-1 call taker determine if you need emergency assistance. 

Do not call 9-1-1:
• For information
• For directory assistance
• When you're bored and just want to talk
• For paying traffic tickets
• For your pet
• As a prank
If you call 9-1-1 by mistake, do not hang up. Tell the call taker what happened so he/she knows there really isn't an emergency. 

What about 9-1-1 prank calls? 

It's a prank call when someone calls 9-1-1 for a joke or calls 9-1-1 and hangs up. Prank calls not only waste time and money, but can also be dangerous. If 9-1-1 lines or call takers are busy with prank calls, someone with a real emergency may not be able to get the help they need. In most places, it is against the law to make prank 9-1-1 calls. 

What if a 9-1-1 caller doesn't speak English? 

When necessary, a 9-1-1 call taker can add an interpreter from an outside service to the line. A non-English speaking caller may hear a short conversation in English and some clicking sounds as the interpreter is added to the line. 

What if a 9-1-1 caller is deaf or hearing/speech impaired? 

Communications centers that answer 9-1-1 calls have special text telephones for responding to 9-1-1 calls from deaf or hearing/speech impaired callers.

If a caller uses a TTY, the caller should:
• Stay calm, place the phone receiver in the TTY, dial 9-1-1.
• After the call is answered, press the TTY keys several times. This may help shorten the time necessary to respond to the call.
• Give the call taker time to connect his/her TTY. If necessary, press the TTY keys again. The 9-1-1 call taker should answer and type "GA" for Go Ahead.
• Tell what is needed -- police, fire department, or ambulance. Give your name, phone number and the address where help is needed.
• Stay on the telephone if it is safe. Answer the call taker's questions.

If a deaf or hearing/speech impaired caller does not have a TTY, he/she should call 9-1-1 and not hang up. This leaves the line open. With most 9-1-1 calls, the caller's address will then be displayed on the call taker's screen and help will be sent.

I just moved here from out of state. Can 9-1-1 still find me since my cell phone number is from another state? 

Yes, if you have a newer cell phone equipped with 9-1-1 location technology. If you are not sure please check with your cell provider.

Why does 9-1-1 staff ask so many questions? Don’t they already know where I am when I dial 9-1-1? 

Verification of information is critical to ensure that the right resources are sent in the right manner to the correct location of an emergency. We understand that asking specific, often scripted questions may take longer, but very often emergency units have already been dispatched.

The Telecommunicator may continue questioning the caller to obtain additional details about the victim, patient or suspect. This additional information may change the response, provide a situational assessment, or provide a scene safety update for the public safety responders. Depending on the call type, pre-arrival instructions may also be given to help the caller help themselves or others before emergency responders get to the scene.