Tips for Calling 911

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Take a deep breath and speak clearly


The E-911 Joint Communications Center Dispatcher will ask important questions and the information you provide will be used to send the best assistance.  The first question will be “what is your emergency?”. In a calm and clear voice, explain the emergency.  This will help the dispatcher decide what type of help to send.

Follow Instructions

The dispatcher may give you directions about what to do.  Listen carefully and follow each step you are given.  If you do not understand, ask for clarification.

Location, Location, Location



“Where is the emergency?” is the next question. You may be asked this question several times. If you don’t know the exact location – address, and town – identify an intersection, landmark, large buildings, or street signs, to help the first respondents find you. The dispatcher may also ask for your phone number.


Do not hang up until the dispatcher ends the call.

Sometimes calls to 9-1-1 are abandoned (hang ups or silences).  If a call is abandoned, it must be traced by emergency personnel, which can keep them from responding to an actual, real emergency. Do not prank call 9-1-1.


Listen carefully, answer slowly.

The dispatcher will guide the conversation. Answer all questions clearly and completely. Even if it seems to be taking a long time, there is a good chance the help is already on the way.


If you were put on hold, don't fret!

The dispatcher may be getting multiple calls on the same incident or accident. It is also possible that the dispatcher is working out the details of your emergency, or may need to transfer your call to another agency. No worries! The dispatcher is doing their best to assist!