What To Expect When You Dial 911

​9-1-1 calltakers are trained, certified professionals who can help you during an emergency, but there are also a few simple things you can do to help the call-taker help you.

Most importantly, be patient, stay calm, and speak clearly throughout the call. Be ready to provide the location of the emergency, the phone number you’re calling from, and a brief description of what happened. Pay attention to the calltaker’s questions and respond clearly, answering all questions, no matter how necessary they may or may not seem to you. Do not object to answering any of their questions. 9-1-1 calltakers are trained to ask the questions necessary to determine the type of response for your particular emergency. Your answers to all the questions provide vital information responders need.

Remember, in most cases, help is already on the way as the calltaker continues to ask you questions and gather information. Calltakers pass your important information to responders en route to help them prepare for your emergency. The 9-1-1 calltaker may also give you immediate lifesaving instructions over the phone until help arrives. Follow these instructions carefully and do not hang up the phone until the calltaker instructs you to do so.

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​Helpful Tips

​​1. Use a landline phone to call 9-1-1, if possible, because cell phone calls do not always provide 9-1-1 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 9-1-1 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 9-1-1 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 9-1-1 calltaker. These first, first responders are there to help you.

6. If you call 9-1-1 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 9-1-1 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: name, phone numbers, personal contacts' phone numbers, doctors' phone numbers, allergies, medications, and blood type.

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.