What to Expect When Calling 911

        When To Make an Emergency Call


If you are in need of emergency assistance, you must be prepared to assist the dispatcher by giving him pertinent information about the emergency. You will be asked questions to determine what type of care is needed for your situation.

The dispatcher will ask you about the following:

     • Location of the Problem. Provide the address where the problem is, where
     you are calling from (if different) and any building names or numbers
     (apartment numbers, condominium names, etc.) that may help responders
     identify the property easier.

     • Nature of the Problem. Tell the dispatcher exactly what occurred or what is
     currently happening.

     • Persons Involved. Explain how many people were involved, their physical
     descriptions (race, gender, height, weight, clothing, hair color, facial hair,
     eyeglasses, etc.), whether they were using a weapon, etc.

     • Vehicle Description. If a vehicle was involved, describe its make, model,
     color, license plate number and number of doors. Also tell the dispatcher which
     direction it was traveling.

Any information you can give to the operator is relayed to the emergency personnel responding to your incident, making them better prepared to help and increasing the chances of a successful outcome.

In a stressful situation, it is difficult to think clearly or know exactly what to do. Your initial reaction may be to call 911 for emergency assistance, but this may not be the most appropriate response for the situation. It may also incur unnecessary emergency care costs and can waste valuable community resources that could be used for situations which require emergency attention.